Chapter 7

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna, ?O Arjuna, by practicing yoga, with the mind clinging to Me, with Me as your refuge, you shall know Me in full, without any doubt.? (7.1) Here Krishna is saying that if Arjuna can practice yoga and be totally dependent on Him, then He is willing to give Arjuna all that He has and all that He is. Krishna also tries to explain to Arjuna how difficult the spiritual journey is, ?Among thousands of men, scarcely one strives for spiritual perfection, and of those who strive and succeed, scarcely one knows Me in essence.? (7.3)

Krishna reveals to Arjuna His relation with the universe, ?I am the beginning and the end of the universe. I am the Source of creation and I am the place of dissolution. Beyond Me, there is nothing. All this is threaded upon Me as pearls on a string.? (7.6-7) Krishna says, He is the taste in water, light in the moon and sun, the syllable Aum in the Vedas, the sound in ether and manhood in man. He is pure fragrance in earth and brightness in fire, life in all existences and austerity in ascetics. He is the eternal seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent and the splendor of the splendid. (7.8-11)

Sri Krishna says, the three qualities of nature: sattva, rajas, and tamas, are from Him and in Him, but He is not in them. Sri Krishna further states, ?The divine maya (power of illusion) of Mine, consisting of the three qualities, is hard to overcome. But those who take refuge in Me alone cross beyond it.? (7.13-14)

According to Sri Krishna, those who follow the inner path are of four kinds, the man in distress; the enquirer or the seeker for knowledge; the seeker of true wealth, the Truth absolute; and the wise, the man of wisdom. Of them all, the man of wisdom is the most dear to Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna says, ?Noble and good are they all, but I hold the wise, the enlightened as My chosen soul and My own Self; fully united, absolutely one we are. When his life has played its role, when the hour of silence knocks at his door, I place him in My Heart where the Breath of Eternal Life grows.? (7.18-19) Then there are those who in order to have their desires fulfilled resort to other gods, observing various rites. Krishna says, ?temporary is the fruit gained by these men of small minds. The worshippers of the gods go to the gods but My devotees come to Me.? (7.23)

Towards the end of this chapter Sri Krishna instructs Arjuna thus, ?Those who take refuge in Me and strivefor deliverance from old age and death – know about Brahman. Those who know Me as the One that governs the material and the divine aspects, and all sacrifices – they, with their minds controlled, have knowledge of Me even at the time of their departure from here.? (7.29-30)


(The following English translation is taken from ‘A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy’ Edited by S. Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. 1957 Princeton University Press)

Chapter 7: God and the World

God is nature and spirit

The Blessed Lord said:
1. Hear then, 0 Partha (Arjuna), how, practicing yoga, with the mind clinging to Me, with Me as thy refuge, thou shalt know Me in full, without any doubt.

2. I will declare to thee in full this wisdom together with knowledge* by knowing which there shall remain nothing more here left to be known.

3. Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection, and of those who strive and succeed scarcely one knows Me in truth.

The two natures of the Lord

4. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, and understanding, and self-sense-this is the eightfold division of My nature.

5. This is My lower nature. Know My other and higher nature which is the soul, by which this world is upheld, 0 Mighty-armed (Arjuna).

6. Know that all beings have their birth in this. I am the origin of all this world and its dissolution as well.

7. There is nothing whatever that is higher than I, 0 Winner of wealth (Arjuna). All that is here is strung on me as rows of gems on a string.

8. I am the taste in the waters, 0 Son of Kunti (Arjuna). I am the light in the moon and the sun. I am the syllable Aum in all the Vedas. I am the sound in ether and manhood in men.

9. I am the pure fragrance in earth and brightness in fire. I am the life in all existences and the austerity in ascetics.

10. Know Me, 0 Partha (Arjuna), to be the eternal seed of all existences. I am the intelligence of the intelligent. I am the splendour of the splendid.

11. I am the strength of the strong, devoid of desire and passion. In beings am I the desire which is not contrary to law**, 0 Lord of the Bharatas (Arjuna).

12. And whatever states of being there may be, be they harmonious, passionate, slothful-know thou that they are all from Me alone. I am not in them; they are in Me.

The modes of Nature confuse men

13. Deluded by these threefold modes of nature (gunas) this whole world does not recognize Me who am above them and imperishable.

14. This divine maya [power] of Mine, consisting of the modes, is hard to overcome. But those who take refuge in Me alone cross beyond it.

The state of evildoers

15. The evildoers who are foolish, low in the human scale, whose minds are carried away by illusion and who partake of the nature of demons do not seek refuge in Me.

Different kinds of devotion

16. The virtuous ones who worship Me are of four kinds, the man in distress, the seeker for knowledge, the seeker for wealth, and the man of wisdom, 0 Lord of the Bharatas (Arjuna).

17. Of these, the wise one, who is ever in constant union with the Divine, whose devotion is single-minded, is the best, for I am supremely dear to him and he is dear to Me.

18. Noble indeed are all these, but the sage, I hold, is verily Myself, for, being perfectly harmonized, he resorts to Me alone as the highest goal.

19. At the end of many lives, the man of wisdom resorts to Me, knowing that Vasudeva [the Supreme] is all that is. Such a great soul is very difficult to find.

Toleration

20. But those whose minds are distorted by desires resort to other gods, observing various rites, constrained by their own natures.

21. Whatever form*** any devotee with faith wishes to worship, I make that faith of his steady.

22. Endowed with that faith, he seeks the worship of such a one and from him he obtains his desires, the benefits being decreed by Me alone.

23. But temporary is the fruit gained by these men of small minds. The worshippers of the gods go to the gods but My devotees come to Me.

The power of ignorance

24. Men of no understanding think of Me, the unmanifest, as having manifestation, not knowing My higher nature, changeless and supreme.

25. Veiled by My creative power (yogamaya), I am not revealed to all. This bewildered world knows Me not, the unborn, the unchanging.

26. 1 know the beings that are past, that are present, 0 Arjuna, and that are to come, but Me no one knows.

27. All beings are born deluded, 0 Bharata (Arjuna), overcome by the dualities which arise from wish and hate, 0 Conqueror of the foe (Arjuna).

The object of knowledge

28. But those men of virtuous deeds in whom sin has come to an end [who have died to sin], freed from the delusion of dualities, worship Me steadfast in their vows.

29. Those who take refuge in Me and strive for deliverance from old age and death-they know the Brahman [or the Absolute] entire; they know the Self and all about action.

30. Those who know Me as the One that governs the material and the divine aspects, and all sacrifices-they, with their minds harmonized, have knowledge of Me even at the time of their departure from here.


This is the seventh chapter, entitled ?The Yoga of Wisdom and Knowledge.?

* Jnana is interpreted as wisdom, the direct spiritual illumination, and vijnana as the detailed rational knowledge of the principles of existence.

** ?Law? (dharma) refers to the moral law. Desire as such is not evil. Selfish desire requires to be rooted out. The desire for union with the Divine is not wrong.

***That is, whatever form of the Divine.