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Gita Lesson - 1614: Glory of God

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 16
Lesson - 1614: Glory of God
By Raja Subramaniyan

Lord Krishna repeats his teaching to Arjuna and explains how he is the cause of everything.

The reason for repeating the teaching

1. The subject is difficult

God is a subject that is not very easy to understand. It requires intensive coaching to convey the true meaning of God.

Example: We can read the newspaper only once. We need to spend more time to understand a technical paper.

It is easier to teach a subject that we do not know. Unfortunately, we have wrong notions of God and it makes Lord Krishna's job difficult. He has to point out to the very same world and tell us it is not the world but an illusion superimposed on God.

2. Learning is progressive

To understand the truth about God, our mind has to be matured sufficiently. The process of maturity starts when the teaching starts since until then we had no systematic way of making our mind matured. As our mind is more matured, same teaching makes more sense when it is repeated.

We need the teaching to continue until we learn. It is similar to eating. We need to keep eating until our hunger is removed. Similarly, we need to learn until our ignorance is removed.

3. The student is enjoying the teaching

It is essential that the listener is involved in the teaching. In this case, Arjuna appears to be engrossed in the teaching and therefore, Lord Krishna says that he will elaborate the teaching.

4. Lord Krishna is the only teacher

Only God can talk about himself. No one else is qualified to teach, since everyone else is part of the creation and God is the creator. Even Vedas are 'heard' by the sages and they are not authored by any human being. To ensure that Vedas are understood properly, God himself has descended into the world to clarify the contents of Vedas, to the right student at the right opportunity.

Thus, to ensure proper understanding of God by humankind, Lord Krishna who is the Descending Avatar talks about his glories. He mentions various things in the creation and point out that he is behind its creation. His choice of items chosen is random to make a point that he is everything.

Teaching 113: God has given the knowledge to us through Vedas

Recap on the teaching so far

1. God is attributeless Brahman combined with the illusion
2. He is the cause of creation
3. He is both the intelligence cause and material cause of the universe.
4. Material cause means, whatever we perceive is God

However, in spite of his teaching, we do not see the God everywhere in the world. We still go to temple to pray to God. World continues to be a source of pleasure and pain to us. Therefore, God repeats his teaching by elaborating his glories. In this way, we will be reminded of God's presence all the time.

Reason for not perceiving God in the world

The only reason for not perceiving God in everything we see is our weakness of getting lost in the names and forms.

Example: When a burglar enters a jewelry shop in the night to steal, sees every ornament as gold. He is not distracted by the name and form of the jewels.

Similarly, we should be seeing God in everything. However, we are lost by the forms and names. Forms and names have only functional utility.

Example: While every part of the earth is called earth, we divide them and give a name for functional convenience. We should not think India is independent of earth. There is no India. There is only the earth. India is just a name and form created by us for our use.

Similarly, the whole world is presented to us for enjoyment. However, we are lost in the name and form, and forget to see the substance behind everything. God is the name for all the forms that we perceive. There is nothing but God.

Reasons for Lord Krishna describing God's glory

1. For reinforcing the knowledge in the mind

It is like giving imposition in school. Since we do not seem to remember God, an imposition is given to list all things in the world and know that it is God. We can spend some time every day meditating on the list of God's glory. In this way, we will be reminded to treat everything and everyone as God.

This is similar to visiting many temples across the country until one sees the truth that there is only one God behind all the forms and names.

2. For removal of hatred, anger, fear and such negative emotions

The cause for all our negative emotions comes from the external world.

Example: When we are driving the car, an old man attempts to cross the road without any warning and we had to brake. We get irritated.

When we know that that the old man is also God, we will not get any negative feeling. Whatever happens is according to the will of the God and everyone around us is God. Therefore, we cannot dislike anyone nor hate anyone.

This does not mean that we will not try to avoid unpleasant events.

Example: If our neighbor picks up a fight with us, we will continue to avoid him. However, there will not be any ill feeling towards him since we are now aware that he is also God and he is our neighbor according to the will of the God.

Similarly, our likes and dislikes will continue with reduced force without causing any negative emotions that are normally associated with our likes and dislikes.

3. For removal of ego

In general, people are proud about their possessions, position, status, wealth, knowledge, education etc.

Example: I am proud of going to moon and returning.

Whenever we do something worthwhile, without our knowledge, our ego gets inflated. The more we have, the more inflated our ego will be. When we know that God is the sole cause for all our achievements, then we will have nothing to be proud of. As a result, our ego will disappear.

People who are stupid without any possessions / skills will not have any ego. This is not desirable since even animals do not have any ego. Ego is a necessary by product of our hard work and achievements. We should have strong ego in order to surrender it to God. If there is no ego in the first place there is nothing to offer to God.

Example: A mango fruit will be small and unripe in the beginning. It should be allowed to grow big and ripen before it could be plucked from the tree.

Similarly, only when our ego is fully ripened it will be ready for offering to God.

4. For removal of Jealousy

When we know that God's grace is the only cause of our own greatness, we will recognize that the very same God is responsible for others greatness as well. Therefore, whenever we get to know any achievement of people known to us, we will not feel any jealousy.

It may be that we work hard and do not get recognition while others are rewarded for idling or functioning in a detrimental way. If we understand that this is also God's will, we will not be affected. We will continue to be motivated to do our work in the best possible manner.

5. For expanding the mind

The narrow mindedness will be cured with the knowledge that God appears in various names and forms. The mind will be expanded to cover the entire universe.

Example: The term 'mine' includes all the objects and space owned by us. Although no one occupies more space than the size of the body, people claim all the property owned by them as 'mine'.

Such expansion of the term 'mine' is further extended to cover everything with the knowledge that everything is ours.

Earlier we will be thinking that there is only one God and that is our god in a specific name and form. As we learn the glory of God that it is he who supports everything, we progress higher in our understanding and know God to be the name for all forms.

6. For equating the pairs of opposites

The life is a combination of good and bad, life and death, truth and false, sacred and evil, Dharma and Adharma. God declares that he is behind both. If we do not have sufficient knowledge we will assume that the evil force is outside and away from God. This assumption actually reduces the glory of God. To reinforce the truth, God declares that even evil forces are his own expressions.

This can also be logically explained. Although these dualities appear to be opposite in nature, they define each other. It is not possible to have something as good without the corresponding bad.

Once we understand this truth, we will deal with both these extreme with equanimity. We will not praise the positive and condemn the negative. We will remain neutral to both since both are expression of God.

This does not mean that we will live our life doing bad or evil acts. During the initial stages, people might not be following Dharma. Such people are not qualified to progress in the spiritual path until they surrender to God. Only when all the negative actions are consciously avoided, one can move up to understand the glory of God.

Therefore, after understanding the glory of God, people will follow Dharma but they will not be affected or perturbed by Adharma of others.

7. For establishing oneness

Everyone thinks, 'I am different from World'. Therefore, there are two entities, which are different from each other, namely, the observer (self) and the observed (the whole world comprising of everything known).

In addition to these two entities, a third entity is added, namely, God by the Holy Scriptures. Only from Vedas, we can know the existence of God. Even if Lord Krishna is declaring, that he is God, how do we know it is correct? We need to have faith in the scriptures and see the logic in the declaration.

Then the God is expanded to cover the entire creation. In the term 'creation', our own body mind complex is also included. Therefore, at this stage, the three entities are reduced to two, namely, God and self.

Instead of the duality of 'the world and I', we are presented with the advanced knowledge of 'God and I'. We are to surrender to God and he will guide us to know the absolute knowledge that there is nothing but God so that we can live joyfully.

Chapter 10: Glory of God [Verses: 01 - 42]

10.1 Lord Krishna said, Oh Arjuna, once again may you listen to My supreme word, which I shall impart to you for your benefit and which will give you great joy.

10.2 Neither the hosts of deities nor the great sages know My origin, for, in every respect, I am the source of the deities and the sages.

10.3 Among mortals, only those with discrimination knows Me as the beginning less, cause less and as the great Lord of all the worlds, is freed from all sins.

10.4-5 Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure, pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame and infamy are all born out of Me alone.

10.6 The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the fourteen Manus, who possess My nature and whose progeny are these in the world are born out of My mind.

10.7 He who knows in truth this glory and power of Mine, is blessed with unshaken knowledge. There is no doubt in this.

10.8 I am the source of everything and everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly well worship Me with devotion.

10.9 Fixing the mind and senses on Me, mutually sharing the knowledge (about Me), and speaking of Me, they are always contented and delighted.

10.10 To those who are constantly worshiping Me with devotion, I give the understanding by which they reach Me.

10.11 Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

10.12-13 Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal and all-pervading. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala, and Vyasa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.

10.14 Oh Krishna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me because neither the gods nor the demons know Your manifestation, Oh Lord.

10.15 Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Yourself, Oh creator of all, Lord of all beings, protector of the universe, God of gods!

10.16 Please tell me in detail of Your divine powers by which You pervade all these worlds and abide in them.

10.17 How should I meditate on You? In what various forms are You to be contemplated, Oh Lord?

10.18 Tell me again in detail, Oh Krishna, of Your mighty powers and manifestations, for I am never tired of hearing Your nectar of words.

10.19 Lord Krishna replied, Well I will tell you My main divine glories, Oh Arjuna, because there is no limit to My manifestations.

10.20 I am the Self, Oh Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.

10.21 Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, I am Marici of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon.

10.22 Of the Vedas I am the Sama-Vedas; of the deities I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force [knowledge].

10.23 Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva; of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the Lord of wealth; of the Vasus I am fire, and of mountains I am Meru.

10.24 Of all the priests, Oh Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati, the lord of devotion. Of generals I am Skanda, the lord of war; and of bodies of water I am the ocean.

10.25 Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental Om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names, and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.

10.26 Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and among sages and deities I am Narada. Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.

10.27 Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, who rose out of the ocean, born of the elixir of immortality; of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.

10.28 Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki, the chief.

10.29 Of the celestial Naga snakes I am Ananta; of the aquatic deities I am Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, lord of death.

10.30 Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Visnu.

10.31 Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.

10.32 Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, Oh Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

10.33 Of letters I am the letter A, and among compounds I am the dual word. I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahma, whose manifold faces turn everywhere.

10.34 I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience.

10.35 Of hymns I am the Brhat-sama sung to the Lord Indra, and of poetry I am the Gayatri verse, sung daily by Brahmanas. Of months I am November and December, and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.

10.36 I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.

10.37 Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.

10.38 Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.

10.39 Furthermore, Oh Arjuna, I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being--moving or unmoving--that can exist without Me.

10.40 Oh Arjuna there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you are but a mere indication of My infinite opulence.

10.41 Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.

10.42 But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.

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