by Swami Krishnananda
The Bhagavadgita is coming to its conclusion.
Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese’rjuna tishthati, bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya (18.61): Ishvara, the supreme creator of the universe, is residing in the heart of all. He is all-pervading, transcendent, above this creation that He has manifested from Himself, yet residing in all the hearts as the Self of all – the ruler of all, and also the Self of all. From the objective point of view, He is the dispenser of justice – the creator, preserver, destroyer. From the subjective side, He is the deepest consciousness – the Atman.
“So, Arjuna, listen to Me. In the deepest recesses of the heart of all beings, Ishvara, the Supreme Lord, resides. He controls the destiny of everything that is created, and rotates, as it were, the fates of people and all things as if they are mounted on a machine which He is operating – yantrarudhani. By a kind of power which is called maya here, an inscrutable force, shakti, that He wields and exerts on everyone, He exercises a permanent control on all things. His rule of law does not require any emendation in the course of time. Once creation was willed, everything necessary for the maintenance of this creation was also simultaneously willed.”
Yathatathyato'rthan vyadadhac chasvatibhyas samabhyah (Isa 8) is a passage from the Isavasya Upanishad. Ishvara, when He projected this universe, also made a law to maintain this universe in a stable form. This rule of law that He laid down at the beginning of creation for the purpose of the origin, the sustenance, as well as the end of all things does not require any change from moment to moment. Those changes that may be required under given conditions in the process of history have already been well thought out at the time of the origin of things. If history is a process of turmoil, and everything seems to be out of control – anything can happen at any time, people seem to be exercising a kind of free will – all this has also been decided in the beginning of things. That there shall be a kind of turmoil, that there shall be an end of a certain epoch in history, and that there shall be its remedy also, was willed in the beginning of things. That is to say, omniscience being the quality of God – Ishvara – there is no necessity for His omniscience to get amended from time to time. His parliament is an eternally set organisation. It does not call for changes under any circumstance. The whole thing is controlled permanently, for ever and ever, right from the beginning, as a machine may be controlled by an operator of the machine.
Tam eva saranam gaccha (18.62). Such a Being exists; such a Lord is ruling the whole universe. Resort to Him. Surrender yourself to Him. Seek refuge in Him. Tameva saranam gaccha sarva-bhavena: From the whole of your being, from all sides of your being, go and surrender yourself to that Almighty. Don’t surrender only some part of your nature; don’t reserve something to not be offered to God. Sarvabhava: every aspect of your being has to be offered. Every aspect, every facet, and in every way is this surrender to be effected - total surrender is called for - and seek refuge in Him: tameva saranam gaccha sarva-bhavena bharata.
Tat prasadat param santim sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam: By the grace of this compassionate Almighty Lord, Ishvara, you shall attain to the peace that surpasses understanding – that supreme peace, which is eternal and untarnished by the process of spatial and temporal history. His grace, please seek it.
Iti te jnanam akhyatam guhyad guhyataram maya, vimrsyaitad aseshena yathecchasi tatha kuru (18.63): “I have told you everything that is necessary. Is there anything left now? I have concluded by the word that God is supreme. Surrender to Him is the final word. Devotion to the Supreme Being is the ultimate sadhana. I have told you the secret of all secrets. Consider deeply the pros and cons and the various aspects of this wisdom that I have imparted to you, and then do what you like.” After having said this much, Sri Krishna does not compel Arjuna saying, ‘therefore do this’. After saying all these things, He says, “Do whatever is proper according to your opinion.” There is freedom even then.
Sarva-guhyatamam bhuyah (18.64): “A very great secret I have imparted hereby.” Srunu me paramam vachah: “Again I shall tell you something, a very great secret indeed.” Ishto’si me drdham: “Because you are very dear to Me, you are devoted to Me, therefore I feel like telling you something more about this great secret of love of God. Listen to Me.” Tato vakshyami te hitam: “For your welfare I say this.”
Repeatedly, again and again, these instructions are given in different places of the Gita. Manmana bhava (18.65):“Let your mind be absorbed in Me.” Mad-bhaktah: “Totally be devoted to Me.” Madyaji: “Offer everything to Me, sacrifice everything to Me. Whatever is there, including your own self, let that be offered to Me.” Mam namaskuru: “Prostrate yourself before Me.” Mamevaishyasi: “You shall attain Me.” Satyam te: “This is truth.” Pratijane priyo’si me: “I promise that you are dear to Me and you shall certainly reach Me, if only you follow this advice in letter, as well as in spirit.”
Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma sucah (18.66): “The power of God is greater than the power of all the people in the world, in all creation. Renounce all the rules and regulations of the temporal world, which are temporary because they require transformation, change, emendation from moment to moment; but stick to the supreme dharma which is devotion to Me. Leave other dharmas which are characteristic of performance of work, etc., in the world of diversity, because all that variety of dharma is subsumed under this greatest of dharmas, that is love of God. There is no dharma equal to that.”
There are varieties of dharmas in this world: family dharma, individual dharma, social dharma, political dharma, kshatriya dharma, brahmana dharma, and so on. They are all good in their own way, in their own place, but they are all nothing before the utter surrender of the soul to God. And all these dharmas, these rules, these Smrtis, these law codes – these systems of operation of secular dharma – are all included in that highest of spiritual dharmas, namely, unity with God.
Mamekam saranam vraja: “Surrender yourself to Me, and resort to Me only. I shall destroy all your sins.” This is a great statement indeed, because it is believed that sins cannot be destroyed. Avasyameva bhoktavyam krtam karma subhasubham, nabhuktam kshiyate karma: These verses tell us that unexperienced karma cannot leave us; we have to undergo the effect of what we have done. Wherever we go, the karmas will follow us.
The greatest sin is ignorance of God, and every other form of crime and offence and sin is an offshoot of this ignorance of the Ultimate Reality. Because the final sin is the separation from God Himself, unity with God will destroy all sins – just as all evil that we perform in dream state will be destroyed automatically by waking up. In dream we have borrowed so much wealth from somebody, we have committed this offence, that offence, all our property has been taken away, we are in a state of great grief; we are on our deathbed, as it were. All these stories can be found in the Yoga Vasishtha. Experiences in dream, all the sorrows, all these agonies, all these obligations, all these duties, all kinds of relationships that we were involved in during the state of dream do not produce any effect whatsoever when we wake up into a consciousness higher in quality than the dreaming state. The mere transformation of consciousness is equal to the fulfilment of all duties. Otherwise, even after waking up from dream we have to pay the debts that we have incurred in dream. We have to take care of all the children that we produced in the dream state, because deserting our own children is a great sin, so why should we not also think of them when we wake up? Nothing will affect us, because consciousness determines everything. God-consciousness being the highest of awakenings, the world stands in relation to it as a dream. So, all the values, all the goodness and the badness, evil and sin in this world – whatever we call it – is like mist before the sun. It is annihilated root and branch, because we have fulfilled the highest law. The offences and the sins that we commit in this world are no doubt violations of certain laws, but the fulfilment of the highest law includes all expiation in regard to the violations of laws that we have performed. God takes care of us to see that we shall not be punished, because we have done the greatest duty, more than anything that the world can conceive; and we have performed the greatest sacrifice, not comparable with any sacrifice that we can think of in this world; and we have cut at the root of all sin by uniting ourselves with God. Therefore it is that the Lord says: “I shall free you from all sins.” Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma sucah.
But we should not be under the impression that we can go on committing some foolish acts and God will come to our aid. He comes to our aid only when we are oblivious of our own existence, we are totally unaware of even the existence of the world, and you are absorbed in the Universal God utterly. In that condition of total transcendence of oneself, is when it is possible to expect this kind of blessing from the Almighty whereby all our offences are pardoned. Otherwise, as long as we are world-conscious and body-conscious – we know that there is a world and we know that there are people and that we also exist – then this law does not apply. We will have to reap the fruits of our karmas. Therefore, this is not a blanket cover for every kind of state of consciousness. It is applicable only to one state of consciousness which is unity with God, not otherwise.
Idam te natapaskaya nabhaktaya kadachana, na chasusrushave vachyam na cha mam yo’bhyasuyati (18.67): This great scripture should not unnecessarily be broadcast in the streets, and it should not be communicated to people who have not done some austerity in their life. Atapaskaya: One who is indulgent and grossly attached to objects in the world, totally far away from self-restraint, to such person communicate not this knowledge. “One who has no devotion to Me, who carps at Me, denies Me, also to him let this not be communicated.” Kadachana: never. And do not communicate this to those who do not want to listen. They will say, “What are you boring into my ear?” Ida susrushave vachyam. To such people, don’t say anything. Na cha mam yo’bhyasuyati: Those who are jealous, and who deny the very existence of God Himself, to them let this secret be not revealed.”
Ya imam paramam guhyam mad-bhakteshv abhidhasyati, bhaktim mayi param krtva mam evaishyaty asamsayah (16.68): “But those people who are devotedly concerned with communicating this knowledge to true devotees of God, their devotion increases by this act of communicating, speaking about this knowledge spoken by Me to you.” Speaking of glorious things is also a glory for one’s own self. When we speak of lofty things, our minds are lifted to a lofty level. Therefore, our devotion to God is also enhanced simultaneously by our loving communication of this knowledge to true devotees of God. Mam evaishyati: “Then you attain to Me.” Asamsayah: “No doubt.”