imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavānahamavyayam
vivasvānmanave prāha manurikśvākave’bravīt (4.1)
The Lord said,“It was I who taught the eternal yog to the Sun- (Vivaswat), who then taught it to Manu, who taught it to Ikshwaku.”
It was he,Sri Krishn says, who at the beginning of devotion (kalp), imparted the knowledge of eternal yog to the Sun (symbolizing righteous impulses), from whom it was passed on to Manu (symbolizing mind), son and then to Ikshwaku (symbolizing aspiration).Sri Krishn, as we have seen, was a yogi.
So it is a yogi, a sage dwelling in the Supreme Spirit, who initiates the everlasting yog at the beginning or, in other words, at the commencement of worship and transmits it into the life breath. The Sun represents the way of God-realization. God is the “one light that gives light to all.’’Yog is everlasting.Sri Krishn has said earlier that the inception, the seed, of this process is indestructible.
If it is but begun, it does not cease until it has achieved perfection. The body is cured by medicines, but worship is the remedy for the Soul. The beginning of worship is the beginning of Self-cure. This act of devotion and meditation is also the creation of an accomplished sage.
To the primitive man lying unconscious in the night of ignorance, who has not given a thought to yog, is brought to the perfection of yog when he meets with a sage-just by looking at the great man, by listening to his voice, by rendering albeit an inadequate service to him, and by associating with him.
Goswami Tulsidas has also said this: “Ultimate bliss is granted to the man who has perceived God as well as to the man who has been noticed by God.”
Sri Krishn says that at the beginning he taught yog to the Sun. If a realized sage just casts a glance at a devotee, the refinement of yog is transmitted into the life-breath of the lucky Soul. All beings that live are animated by the sun-by God who is subject to himself alone. Since light is life or breath, it is ordained that the Supreme Spirit can be attained only by the regulation of life-breath.
Transmission of pious instincts into early man is the imparting of knowledge of yog to the Sun, after which in due time the seed of this perfection sprouts in the mind. This is how gods pass on the knowledge to Manu. After the seed has sprouted in the mind, there will arise a wish for the realization of the sage’s utterance. If the mind has something in it, there is also the desire to achieve it. This is Manu’s preaching yog to Ikshwaku.
There will be a longing, or aspiration to do that ordained act which is eternal and which liberates from the bondage of action. If it is so, there is the will to act and worship is quickened.
evam paramparāprāptam imam rājarṣayo viduḥ,
sa kālene’ha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa (4.2)
“Derived from tradition, this yog was known to sages of the royal stage (rajarshi),but at this point, O the destroyer of foes, it declined and was almost extinct.”
This yog, transmitted by an accomplished saint into the breath of the primitive, barbaric man, and thereafter flowing from breath into the mind, thence to longing (or aspiration), and from that to active practice, thus developing by gradual stages, reaches the royal stage and is then revealed to the seeker.
Extraordinary powers are generated in worshippers who have reached this level. At this critical stage, yog almost ceases to be in this world (body). So the problem is how to carry it beyond this dividing line. It seems that every seeker is destroyed after reaching this stage, but according to Sri Krishn it is not so. One who has taken refuge in him as a loved devotee and dear friend is spared.
sa evā’yam mayā te’dya
yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ,
bhakto’si me sakhā ce’ti
rahasyam hyetad uttamam (4.3)
“That is the timeless yog which I now impart to you, because you are my devotee and beloved friend, and because this yog embodies a supreme mystery.”
Arjun is a Kshatriya worshipper, of the level of rajarshi at which, lashed by waves of achievement, worshippers are in danger of being destroyed. It is not that the beneficial nature of yog is cancelled at this stage, but worshippers usually stumble after arriving at this point.
That eternal and supremely mysterious yog Sri Krishn now imparts to Arjun, because his disciple is in the same way on the brink of destruction. And he does this because Arjun is devoted to him, single-mindedly reliant upon him, and a beloved friend.
When the God we crave for-the accomplished sage-abides in the Soul and begins to instruct him, only then does real worship begin. Here God and accomplished sage- teacher, as prompters, are synonymous.If God descends into heart at the level at which we stand, begins to check and guide, and support in case the worshipper stumbles-only then is the mind fully restrained. Unless God stands by as a charioteer, close to the Soul as a prompter, there cannot be an adequate initiation to his path. Before this the adorer is on trial; he has not yet achieved the state of true worship.
aparam bhavato janma param janma vivasvataḥ,
Katham etad vijāniyām tvam ādau proktavān iti (4.4)
Arjun said,“Since Vivaswat (craving for God) was bent in the distant antiquity and your birth is only recent, how am I to believe that you had taught yog to him?”
Sri Krishn has had a recent birth, in remembered time, whereas the breath of knowledge he claims to have transmitted to the Sun belongs to “the dark backyard and abyss of time.”
So how is Arjun to believe that Sri Krishn is the one who had enunciated yog at the beginning?Sri Krishn resolves the doubt thus in next verse.
bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cā’rjuna,
tāny aham veda sarvāṇi na tvam vettha parantapa (4.5)
The Lord said, “O Arjun, you and I have passed through innumerable births but, O vanquisher of foes, whereas you do not have memory of your previous births, I do.”
Sri Krishn and Arjun have had numerous births, but the latter does not remember them. The worshipper does not know. But he who has beheld his Self knows it and one who has realized the unmanifest knows it. According to Sri Krishn, his birth is unlike that of others.
Attainment of the Self is distinct from attainment of a body. Sri Krishn’s manifestation cannot be seen with physical eyes. He is birthless, hidden, and eternal, and yet he is born with a human body. Therefore, they who preach that death of the physical body brings liberation offer, but, a false consolation.
A Soul realizes the ultimate essence while he is yet in his assumed human body. If there is even the slightest flaw, he has to undergo another birth. Till now Arjun has thought Sri Krishn to be a mortal like him. That is why he speaks of his recent birth.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans]
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