The Bhagawadgīta is one of the very foundational works of so called Hinduism. Though the teachings are Universal in their essence, it is widely fixated into the cult of Hinudism. (I hardly think Arjuna or Krishna called themselves as Hindus, like Jesus did not call himself a Christian. Hence the teachings are Universal). One can not actually define what Hinduism constitutes, but there do not exist any person calling themselves a ‘Hindu’ and not knowing about Gita. May be they did not read, but they would have heard and formed an opinion on it, by virtue of being in the sect. Such is the Glory of Gita!
Gita consists of 18 chapters. It is an episode that occurred as an interaction between Krishna and Arjuna, at the start of the war of Kurukshetra. Among all the chapters of Gita, I find chapter 10 to be very profound and pregnant with many secrets of synthesis. Krishna keeps giving us a name which represents a list of objects and then he selects one of then to be him. For example, he says “Among Ādityās, I am Viṣṇu”, etc. Does that mean, HE is not the other things in that list? But that will rule out his ‘omniscient’ characteristic. So, we need to tread this path with careful scrutiny. Let us proceed with an open heart and inquisitive mind. I am going to take 21st and 26th ślōkās of the chapter 10 of gita to briefly hint on how to achieve at coherently at what Krishna is proclaiming. It is interesting to note that, this aspect of HIM being the only 1 in all occurrences occurs in 10th chapter — as in 10 = 1+0 = 1, HIMSELF through cyclic appearances (the 0).
Always know the following symbolism as the background of my exposition: Sri Krishna is God consciousness or the Universal ‘I AM’ in all of us. He is the ONE in ALL. Arjuna is the ego self of us which is ‘i am’ – the sense with which we say “i am so and so”. On the background of the big ‘I AM’, many small ‘i am’ are born and perish — like waves of an ocean (wave = i am; Ocean = I AM). So, when ever Krishna says “I AM something”, immediately we should attribute it to the Universal self. This will erase many problems and paradoxes that so called “Scholars” have been struggling with. A TRUTH seeker sees beyond the logic, with intuition and devotion. So, let us proceed.
PS: The number on the left suggests the numbered ślōka of this chapter. To keep it simple, I am just giving the meaning and explanation – you may refer to standard texts for the source ślōkās in Sanskrit.
The Import and Explanations of few Ślōkās:
- 21) Among the Ādityās, I am Viṣṇu; Among the self luminous bodies, I am RAVI; Among the Maruts, I am Marīchi and Among the stars, I am the MOON.
Most of us have an opinion that ‘Ādityā’ means SUN. IF so why should Krishna state these two separately? There are 12 Ādityās, among whom, Viṣṇu is one. But, Viṣṇu means that which permeates. So, HE permeates the whole cosmos, and into all the other Ādityās and yet exists as a separate Āditya. That is why, Krishna says, he is Viṣṇu – for he is the very substratum. So, Āditya is not the SUN, but the cause that lets the SUN glow. We all know that light is made of photons or EM fields. But no one knows their ‘Location’ as such. If we can call that location some plane, it will be plane of VIṢṆU. Thus, Āditya is different from SUN.
But, among SUNS, he is RAVI it seems. RAVI means to glow specially. So, the element of GLOW that exists in stars is called RAVI. Thus, Krishna is the element of property of LIGHT that shines forth from a star to some other place or from a lamp to the whole room.
Maruts are the layers of space that immediately surround a planet. Marīchi is the cause of pulsation. We respire, heart beats and even Earth respires — in that the whole cycle of seasons in a fast forwarded video will look as if Earth s respiring. Marīchi causes this pulsations and thus Krishna is HE.
Nakshatra is not a star, but a division of space that surround our Earth. We say there are 27 Nakshatras. MOON is known as King of Stars/Nakshatras, for the MOON divides the whole belt of stars around our Earth into these 27 (or 28) different constellations, by his revolutions. Each division has a particular impact on the beings as per Indian astrology. Thus, MOON rules the fate of humans – rather impells them to fructify their karmic debt. Also, MOON is the cause of woman’s periodical cycles and most of the growth of vegetative kingdom (they depend on moon revolutions and phases) Thus, Krishna is MOON – implies that HE is the property of division of belt of space for sake of ruling the lives.
- 26) Among the trees, I am Aswattha; Among the divine sages, I am Narada; Among the Gandharvās, I am Chitraratha and Among the Siddhās, I am Kapila.
Trees generally have their roots under the ground and leaves and branches upward. But it is said that Aswattha tree has its roots above and the branches and leaves below. This description itself suggests, Aswattha is not a physical tree that we observe every day. Then what is it? The roots are nothing but the agents of tree that take seat in the ground for their existence. A human has his head towards SUN, meaning the center of consciousness – SUN, is in his Head and symbolically he is vertical, standing erect towards Sun. The trunk and leaves and branches are moving agents that gather food by absorbing sun rays. We gather our food by our locomotive organs – we work. And our food is on Earth and hence our leaves/limbs are towards Earth. All this is with respect to a wakeful HUMAN. A sleeping human, need to be exemplified here, for a sleep is a state beyond physical perception. Aswattha tree is nothing but an erect human — who takes his base in SOLAR consciousness and lives on Physical planes of Earth — which is nothing but every HUMAN. Thus, All humans are but Krishna is what he is suggesting.
Dēvaṛṣi means divine sage. There are human sages and also divine sages. Divine means embodiments of LIGHT – light of consciousness. Thus, Divine sages are verily the embodiment sof LIGHT that originates for Creator. Thus, NĀRADA originated from Brahma – the creator, as his mind born son. Meaning, he is the MIND of the creation of BRAHMA. That is why we see many allegories — crossing eons of times (yugas), but the sage Nārada appears every where. He is omnipresent and plays key role in turning the events of all the worlds – subtle to gross. That is why he is said to have a free pass into all the 14 worlds, which no other sage does. Thus, Krishna is verily Nārada – in whose capacity turns and guides the movements of world events.
Gandharvās are lords of periodicity. That is why they are depicted in purāṇās as Music lovers. Among these, Chitraratha presides over pleasantness of hearing. WHat is good to hear? Noise or Music? What is the difference? The periodic occurence of some bunch of tones and rhythms in a combination, pleases our ears. That means, only certain such combinations will lead to formation of this Universe. If not, it becomes noise and the Universe would not have been existing. This stability, achieved by regularity of events, is resided by Chitraratha and thus, Krishna is verily HIM, and gives us a delightful existence (if we were to notice!).
Dēvās or angels — are two kinds. Potential and Dynamic. Those who are in potential state are called Sādhyās. Those who expressed themselves, as the conscious properties of this universe are called Siddhās. So, they preside over the formative aspects of microcosm and macrocosm. Along them KAPILA presides over numbers. NUMBERS exists before and after the creation, but are very much needed for creation. Thus, KRISHNA is kapila, in the capacity of numerical symphony (like we have two hands, two eyes, one trunk, two nostrils, one nasal bridge, thirty two teeth, etc.
Thus, we see every group of things that Krishna chose in his chapter, form bricks of understanding this Universe — the time (as the group of serpents), Rhythm (as the group of gandharvas), Humans/Aswattha (as group of trees), and so on. Every group has a seed and prominent entity, which permeates the whole group as the omnipresent ONE. Just like, all our body is spread by ‘I AM’ ness, yet we have our hands, stomach, kidneys, etc as separate entities, all the groups suggested by Krishna form the BODY of HIS own and each organ forms a group and each group is again filled by HIM, in a specific role that he takes. This way of approach will straight away dispels the mist of ignorance of different schools of thought. I hope you will read the Gita, next time, with this kind of torch in hand!