by Swami Krishnananda
So in this characterisation of the definition of the various principles that go to constitute creation in these verses that I mentioned—buddhir jnanam asammohah, etc.—every blessed thing is mentioned as having a concern with the wholeness of creation. Etam vibhutim yogam ca mama yo vetti tattvatah, so’vikampa yogena yujyate natra samsayah. Only if we are prepared to accept the compatibility of anything and everything into the framework of the totality of creation can our mind be prepared to establish itself in this unshakable yoga, which is called avikampa yoga in this verse. Otherwise we will be established in a shakable yoga, not in an unshakable yoga. We are all shakable yogis, because at any moment we can be blown off by a little logic of somebody else. If another person argues with a more forceful logic, it is enough to pound our entire load of knowledge and we run away. The unshakability of the intellect implies the establishment of the whole understanding in a complete acceptance of every aspect of creation. This is possible only when we are able to fit in properly all the conceivable aspects into the framework of completeness. The whole of creation is to be regarded as an orderly arrangement of values.
First of all, as I have mentioned, creation does not consist merely of human beings. This is an idea that we have to give up, gradually. Secondly, it does not consist even of things, objects, substances or even the five elements—it consists of relations. The whole universe is nothing but a set-up of relations, and not of things or objects. There is an interconnectedness of values, so that we may say that the world is a value, finally, and not even a scientific relation. It is not a world of human beings; it is not a world of things, objects and physical elements; not even a world of conceivable physical scientific relationships, but of values. Truth, goodness and beauty are regarded as values these days, but these are all, again, conditional values. They become more and more rarified and ethereal as we go further and further, so that we cannot say what this world is made of finally. It is not made up of anything that we can imagine in our minds.
Here is the masterstroke that the Bhagavadgita deals when it moves on to the delineation of the glories of God as constituting the essence of creation, which is the subject of the tenth chapter. The world consists of the glories of God, and not of physical objects or friends and enemies, etc. As the ocean consists of waves of water, large and small, swirls and eddies, currents and circles, etc., various manifestations of God, in various degrees of intensity, constitute this creation. We are nearing a dangerous border where we shall not be able to breathe satisfactorily because of it becoming necessary for us to accept that creation does not exist at all. Creation is not there, and there seems to be something quite different in the place of that which we regarded as creation, as a world of friends and foes, as a universe of values, of things and relations, pleasurable or otherwise. We will be stunned to be told further on that the magnificent glories of God are the substances of this creation.
The soul of this universe is God—aham atma gudakesa sarva-bhutasaya-sthitah—the essence of things is God Himself. The substance of things is not atoms and electrons, as scientists tell us, but it is God’s glory that is the essence of all things. Electric energy is not the constituent of the universe. Quantum particles or waves of light are not the essence of creation. Space-time coordination and the continuum of energy are not the essence of creation. The spiritual flood of God’s Being, manifest in various degrees of intensity as avatara vibhuti, is the essence of creation. God Himself is creation, and therefore God has not created the world—He has appeared as this world. This is what we are gradually going to be told, to our consternation. Aham atma: “I am the Soul of all beings,” says the great Teacher of the Bhagavadgita. We know what the ‘soul’ means. The soul is anything and everything that is of meaning in anything. Minus the soul of a thing, the thing does not exist at all. Divest anything of its essence and we are freeing it from its soul, which means to say that we are freeing it from the very existence of it. The very existence of anything is called the ‘soul’ of that thing, and so when it is said that God is the soul of all things, it means that the very existence of everything is God, and minus God everything is a zero. There is a nihility, a complete vacuum before us, when God is freed from the essence of creation.
There is no world outside God, and therefore the world does not exist outside Him. But this is a difficult concept, so we are given a more particular description which the mind is in a position to understand more conveniently than when it is presented with this stupendous reality of God being the sum and substance, the very existence of all things. We are told that He is the creator, preserver and destroyer—aham adis ca madhyam ca bhutnam anta eva ca. So we are a little bit solaced; we are coming down to a lesser definition and a more acceptable description of creation when we are told that God is the creator, the preserver and the transformer of things than when we are told that He is the very existence of everything. In the beginning it is said that God is the soul, the sum and substance, the essence, the being, and the all-in-all of everything—that is the atmatva of all things. It is at the same time told that He is the originator, the propeller, the sustainer and the dissolver of all things. Even this is a difficult thing for us to imagine. What this creation is, what this sustenance is and what this dissolution is, in a cosmic sense—our puny brains cannot contain these thoughts.
So we are told particular glories—adityanam aham visnur, etc. All that is of supreme excellence in this world should be regarded as a ray of God. The whole of the tenth chapter is a description of this particular glory. Wherever there is an exuberance of manifestation, whatever be the kind of that manifestation—it may be any cataclysm or even a flood—even that is to be regarded as a superb vibhuti of God. This excellence or superiority of manifestation need not necessarily be a beautiful and picturesque scenery before us. Any kind of catastrophic excellence, which can be acceptable or terrifying—either way it should be regarded as God’s manifestation. We will be told also that He is the destroyer of all things.Kalo’smi loka-ksaya-krt pravrddho: “I am the world swallowing time.” We will not be prepared to accept this kind of definition of God so easily. “I have come to doom everything and swallow all of you up.” If someone says that, we cannot regard him as God—we will think he is something terrific and most portending.
The excellences of God are gradually described in their varieties of excellence. The most beautiful things, most powerful things, most valourous things, most heroic acts, and anything that surpasses in knowledge and power the comprehensibility of the human mind usually has been regarded as God’s vibhuti. While it is true that the glory of God is present in every little thing, and there is nothing where His presence is not felt in some manner or the other, for our satisfaction it is said that that which excels our knowledge and power should be regarded by us as the glories of God for our adoration, worship and regard. We are wonderstruck many a time by occurrences in the world. We are stupefied and taken by consternation; we are flabbergasted. The wonder of creation is not exhausted merely by the rise of the sun or the moon, the existence of the solar system and the creation of the world through nebular dust, etc. It exists even in little things in the day-to-day existence of our own small lives.
If we are cautious enough to probe into the small occurrences of our daily lives, we will find small miracles taking place every day. Little births of divine miracles will be visible in the bubbles of our daily activities. But we are too stupid to have even time to think of these things. We are busybodies to the utmost extent, on account of which the miracles of God present in the daily lives of ordinary people are not usually recognised. Every little event in the world is a miracle by itself. Even that we are able to stand on our two legs should be regarded as a miracle, that we are breathing is a miracle, that our heart is pumping blood is a miracle. Who can say that there can be a greater miracle than the working of the human body, for instance? Why go further than that? Let us confine ourselves merely to this very obvious phenomenon called the human mechanism, the anatomic and the physiological systems. Can we imagine a greater perfection than this, more miraculous than how the five elements combine into this perfection of the human body? Even to think of such a stupendous reality as God’s existence—can we not call this a vibhuti of God?
Well, so the Teacher says, “There is no end for the enumeration of my glories.” Nanto’sti mama divyanam vibhutinam: Endless are the glories—everywhere we can see them, if we have the eyes to see. If we have the ears to hear, if we have the mind to think and the brain to understand, we will find His presence everywhere. In every nook and corner, in every little cranny we will find the splash of this beauty of divine presence. “Well, why should I speak to you more,” says the great Master. “By a little fraction My magnitude of Being, I sustain this whole cosmos—a little fraction of Myself, not the entirety.” Ekamsena sthito jagat: “By a little part of My Being, I am sustaining this entire magnificent cosmos.” We can imagine what could be the magnificence of God Himself!