jñānena tu tad ajñānam
yeṣām nāśitam ātmanaḥ,
teṣām ādityavaj jñānam
prakāśayati tat param ||5.16||
[5.16]:”But the knowledge of one whose ignorance has been dispelled by Self-perception shines like the sun and renders God brilliantly visible.”
The mind, whose darkness has been pierced through by knowledge of the Self and which has thus acquired true wisdom, is lit up as if with the light of the sun and God is clearly manifested to it. This does not by any means imply that God is some kind of darkness, for he is truly the source of all light. He is the fountain of all light, but his light-it appears-is not for us because it is not seen by us.
When darkness is swept away by perception of the Self-like the Self, like the sun, the resulting knowledge absorbs his brightness within itself. After this there is no longer any darkness. Here is what Sri Krishn has to say about the nature of this knowledge in next verse.
[5.17]:”Those men attain salvation-after which there is no next birth-whose mind and intellect are free from delusion, who dwell with a single mind in God and put themselves at his mercy, and who are freed from all sin by knowledge.”
That state is knowledge in which a man dedicates himself wholly to God and is dependent on him, with a mind and an intellect shaped accordingly, and overflowing with his essence. Knowledge is not garrulousness or being argumentative.
The man who is endowed with this knowledge attains to salvation and is liberated from physical ties. It is such men who are called pandit, men of profound learning and wisdom. Only a man who has achieved this ultimate state deserves the name of pandit.
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini,
śuni cai va śvapāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ samadarśinaḥ ||5.18||
[5.18]:”Sages who look evenly at a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and even the most despicable of men are blessed with the highest degree of knowledge.”
They are realized sages whose sins have been destroyed by knowledge and who have achieved the state in which there is no further birth. And such men regard all creatures impartially, making no distinction between a discerning Brahmin and an outcast, or between a dog and an elephant.
In their eyes there is neither any special merit in the wise and learned Brahmin nor any special demerit in the ostracized man. For him neither is a cow holy nor a dog unholy. He does not find any special greatness about a massive elephant. Such men of knowledge are impartial of view and equal minded. Their eyes are fixed not on the skin, on the external form, but on the Soul-the inner essence.
The difference is only this: men who know and are reverent to the Self are close to God, whereas others straggle behind. Some have gone a stage ahead, while some are yet lingering behind. Men of knowledge are conscious that the body is but an apparel. So they look at the embodied Soul and attach no significance to the outward form. They do not discriminate.
Sri Krishn was a cowherd and he had tended cows. So he should have spoken of this creature in reverential terms. He has only admitted that like other beings she, too has a Soul.Sri Krishn said earlier that ignorant minds are riven with dissensions, because of which they devise an endless variety of deeds.
The eighteenth verse suggests that there are two kinds of sages. First, there are sages whose knowledge is perfect. Secondly, there are sages who are possessed of reverent knowledge. Let us linger for a moment to see how they are different. It is an axiom that everything has at least two stages, the highest-the ultimate stage-and the initial-the lowest stage. The lowest stage of worship is the one at which it is commenced, when it is taken up with discernment, detachment, and dedication, while the highest stage is that at which the final outcome of the act of worship is about to emerge.
The same is true of the Brahmin class-the state of sattwa, when there is the advent of properties that provide access to the Supreme Spirit and there is the presence of knowledge and a reverential attitude. At this stage all the faculties that take one to God are spontaneously active within-control of mind, restraint of senses, beginning of the process of intuition-direct perception, steady contemplation, concentration, and abstract meditation. This is the lowest stage of the state that is named Brahmin.
Its highest stage is reached when with gradual perfection the Self at last stands face to face with God and is dissolved in him. Now that which had to be known is perfectly known. The sage who has achieved this is the one with perfect knowledge. This sage, who is now beyond rebirth, looks equally at creatures, because his eyes are turned within to see the enshrined Self. So Sri Krishn now describes what is the ultimate lot of this sage in next verse.
ihai’va tair jitaḥ sargo
yeṣām sāmye sthitam manaḥ,
nirdoṣam hi samam brahma
tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ ||5.19||
[5.19]:”They who achieve the state of equality conquer the whole world within the mortal life itself, because they rest in God who is also unblemished and impartial.”
Sages with perfectly poised minds are freed from material nature during their worldly life itself. But what is the relation between an even mind and conquest of nature? When the world itself is annihilated, what is the position of the Self?
In Sri Krishn’s view, since God is immaculate and impartial, the minds of sages who have known Him are also freed from all blemishes and inequalities. The sage becomes one with God. This is the ultimate birthless state and it is acquired when the ability to overcome the enemy, the world of appearances, is fully developed.
This ability is there when the mind is controlled and when one has achieved the state of equality, for the world of appearances, is but an extension of the mind.Sri Krishn then speaks of the distinctive marks of the sage who has known God and merged into him in next verse.
na prahṛṣyet priyam prāpya
no dvijet prāpya cā priyam,
bramavid brahmaṇi sthitaḥ ||5.20||
[5.20]:”That equal-minded man dwells in God who is neither delighted by what others love nor offended by what others scorn, who is free from doubt, and who has perceived Him.”
Such a man transcends feelings of love and hatred. He does not go wild with joy when he gets something which is cherished and admired by others. In the same way, he is also not repelled by what others find distasteful. With such a constant mind, free from doubt, and endowed with knowledge of the divine Self, he always dwells in God.In other words, he is a man of attainment.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans]
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