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Gita Lesson - 1503: Benefit of Knowing God

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 15
Lesson - 1503: Benefit of Knowing God
By Raja Subramaniyan

Lord Krishna gave a complete description of God, explaining that he is not only the intelligence cause of creation but also the material cause. He has created the universe out of himself. If we have understood this description, we should be experiencing God all the time.

Teaching 85: There is nothing but God

The teaching is, "There is nothing but God". This means that when we open our eyes we should not be seeing anything other than God. Every word that we hear is from God. Every person that we interact is God.

However, we do not see this happening. The description given by Lord Krishna is logically clear to us but we do not feel that way. Our emotions are different. We see the world as a source of pleasure and pain while we intellectually learn that there is nothing but God. This contradiction between what we know and what we feel is the result of our prolonged exposure to the world with our wrong views. We have developed strong likes and dislikes to the objects of the world that we are not able to see the world as God.

Example: A close childhood friend of ours has changed her name.

We are aware that this person is no longer known by her old name. Nevertheless, we continue to address her by her old name. Our knowledge that she has a new name is not able to override our habit of calling her by her old name. Similarly, we have developed strong attachment to the world due to our likes and dislikes. This attachment has deluded our intelligence. As result, we are not able to see God in spite of knowing that he is everywhere.

God is everywhere is just a piece of information and it has not transformed our lives. In order to transform our lives, Lord Krishna is suggesting a new practice. It is similar to writing impositions in our school time. In spite of knowing the correct spelling, we might be making mistakes since we are used to write the wrong spelling many times. To correct our behavior, the teacher will ask us to write imposition of the right spelling.

Example: Our friend tells us to address her by her new name. She might make us talk among ourselves referring her by her new name in different contexts, so that we get used to the new name.

Lord Krishna attempts to give a similar solution. He wants us to see God everywhere and therefore he gives us a practice by covering all the items in creation by saying "I am the water. I am the sun..etc"

Only while visiting a temple, we have a feeling that we are in the God's place. The purpose of the above exercise is to make us realize that we are in the God's place all the time, whether inside or outside the temple.

For every name, we have a corresponding object. God is the only exception

Example: We have a bangle, a necklace and a ring, all made in gold.

For every name, like bangle, necklace and ring, we can identify a particular article. However, for the word, gold, which refers to the entire group, we are not able to identify a distinct object. We might be asked to repeat, 'bangle is gold', 'necklace is gold' and 'ring is gold' until we realize that there is no gold outside these three articles and every one of them is gold. Similarly, Lord Krishna keeps referring to every article in the world and says, "I am this and I am that" until we realize that there is nothing but God.

Such repeated practice will ensure that our feelings towards the world will synchronize with our knowledge that the world is God.

Lord Krishna reminds us that although God is in everything, God is not dependent on anything.

Example: In the bangle, necklace and ring, gold is there. Gold does not depend on these articles. Even if all the articles are destroyed, gold will continue to exist.

This is because of the fact that the world is made up of illusion comprising Aura, Energy and Matter, which is God's lower nature. The higher nature of God, Brahman is superior and independent. Illusion is just a form and name. It is not real and it is dependent on Brahman for existence. World is an illusion and therefore it depends on God for existence.

Example: Bangle, necklace and ring are just forms and names. In essence, they are gold.

Teaching 86: The benefit of knowing God is Joyful Living

However, we will not get this benefit, by intellectually understanding the nature of God. Only when our emotions and feelings are able to perceive the presence of God everywhere, we can reach the destination.

Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute [Verses: 08 - 12]

7.8 Oh Arjuna, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable Om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.

7.9 I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.

7.10 Oh Arjuna, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men.

7.11 Oh Arjuna, of the strong, I am the strength, which is free from desire and attachment. In all beings I am the desire which is not opposed to Dharma.

7.12 All states of being--be they of Aura, Energy or Matter--are manifested by Me. I am, in one sense, everything--but I am independent. They are dependent on Me and I am not dependent on them.

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