“Radiant Being” and “birthless” are synonyms for God and the final state of perfect bliss.
Arjun submits in lotus feet of Lord Krishn:
“It has been so said by even divine sages such as Narad,
Asit, the sage Deval, and the great saint Vyas – that
you are the radiant Being, supreme goal, and absolutely unblemished,
because all of them believe you to be the Supreme Spirit
who is the primeval, birthless, and all-pervasive God of all gods;
and now you tell me the same.”
Arjun first refers to sages of the past who said the same. And now even divine sages like Narad, Asit, Deval, Vyas, and Sri Krishn himself say it. The latter are all contemporaries of Arjun and he has the advantage of associating with these sages. And they all as well as Sri Krishn affirm what was declared by the sages of yore?
“I believe, O Keshav, all that you have told me and which,
O Lord, is known to neither demons nor gods, to be true.”
“Which, O Supreme Lord, O Creator and God of all beings,
O God of gods and master of the world, is known to you alone.”
This truth which is known to Lord Krishn, the creator of all beings and their God, is also made known to those Souls who are awakened and lit up by their consciousness of him. So the knowledge of worshipers is really his knowledge.
“So you alone are capable of enlightening me well
on your glories by which you pervade and dwell in all the worlds.”
“How should I, O Yogeshwar, know you by incessant contemplation
and in what forms, O Lord, should I worship you?”
These questions are agitating Arjun’s mind. How should he know Lord Krishn-a yogi, how should he meditate on him, and how should he remember him?
“And, O Janardan, tell me again the power of your yog
and your exalted magnificence, for I am not yet sated
by the honey of your utterances.”
Lord Krishn has already stated briefly what Arjun wants to know again. Arjun begs him to elaborate the same again at greater length because his curiosity is not yet fully satisfied. Moreover, he also wishes to hear Lord Krishn’s words just for the sake of listening to them. Such is the sweet charm of the speech of God and of sages.
No wonder according to Goswami Tulsidas, one who is satiated with listening to the chronicle of Ram is bereft of sentiment. Until the worshiper has access to the desired God, his thirst for the substance of immortality remains. If someone sits down on the way before the point of attainment with the feeling that he knows all, he has in fact known nothing. It is evident then that his progress is about to be obstructed. So it is the seeker’s duty that he holds on to directions from the adored God and turns them into practice.
The Lord then said:
“I shall now tell you of the power of my glories,
for there is no end to my diverse manifestations.”
“I am, O Gudakesh, the Self that dwells within all beings,
as also their primeval beginning, middle, and end.”
“I am Vishnu among the twelve sons of Aditi,
the sun among lights, the god Mareechi among winds,
and the sovereign moon among planets.”
Aditya and the other celestial beings referred to in the verse were taken as symbols of certain inner attitudes in the time of Lord Krishn; they are all dwellers in the sphere of the heart.
Lord Krishn sings:
“I am also the Sam among the Ved,
Indr among gods, the mind among senses,
and the consciousness in beings.”
Among the Ved, Lord Krishn is the Sam Ved, for it is he whose song begets the state of equanimity. He is the Lord Indr among gods, and the mind among senses for he is known only through restraint of the mind. He is also the power that gives beings their sense of awareness.
“I am Shankar among Rudr,
Kuber among demons and yaksh, fire among Vasu,
and the Sumeru among lofty mountains.”
Lord Krishn is Shankar among Rudr. Shankar-“shanka-ar”-may be understood as the condition in which there are no doubts and irresolutions. In fact, “Kuber,” “fire,” and “Sumeru” are all metaphors for the discipline of yog; they are all yogic terms.
“Be it known to you, Parth,
that I am among priests the Chief Priest Brihaspati,
Skand among martial chiefs, and the ocean among seas.”
Among priests, who keep watch over the intellect that is like a gateway to the human body, Lord Krishn is Brihaspati, the divine teacher of gods themselves, and so it is he who generates the treasure of divinity. Among martial commanders he is Kartikeya, renunciation of action by which the destruction of animate and inanimate worlds, total dissolution, and the final attainment of God are effected.
“I am Bhrigu among the great saints (maharshi),
OM among words, the yagya of intoned prayers (jap-yagya) among yagya,
and the Himalaya among stationary objects.”
Lord Krishn is Bhrigu among great sages. He is also OM, symbol of the Supreme Spirit, among words. He is the jap-yagya among yagya. Yagya is the Image of that special form of worship that enables a worshiper to be united with God. In summary, therefore, it is remembrance of the Supreme Spirit and recitation of his name.
When after having crossed the stages of two kinds of speech, the audible and the muttered, the name reaches the stage of yagya, it is then recited by neither articulated speech nor from the throat; nor even in thought; it then infuses every breath. There is then only a surging ahead unceasingly with the vision of mind in God engraved on every breath. The rise and fall, ascent and descent, of yagya, and its different stages depend upon breath. It is something dynamic-a -matter of action.
Among stationary objects, Lord Krishn is the Himalaya, cool, even, and immovable like the one God himself. At the time of doom, it is said, Manu was joined with a peak of that mountain. The immutable, even, and tranquil God is never destroyed.
“I am Ashwath (the Peepal) among trees,
Narad among divine sages,
Chitrarath among Gandharv,
and the sage Kapil among men of attainment.”
Lord Krishn is Ashwath, the holy peepal among trees. The world, which is not even sure of living until the symbolic tomorrow, is described as an inverted Peepal tree (fig tree) whose root-God-is above and whose boughs- nature-are spread below. This is not the ordinary Peepal tree that is commonly worshiped. And it is in this sense that Lord Krishn calls himself Peepal among trees.
Narad (nade randhrah is Narad) has, on the other hand, such a sharp awareness that he can steadily hold on to the divine rhythm arising from breath. Among Gandharv Lord Krishn is Chitrarath, or that unique state in which the object of contemplation begins to be directly perceptible to the worshiper. Kapil is bodily manifestation. Lord Krishn is that form as well as both the state as well as the immersion in that form, and also the divine message that is received from it.
“Know (also) that I am the nectar-born Uchchaishrav among horses,
Airawat among pachyderms, and king among men.”
Every object in the world is perishable and the Self alone is indestructible. It is thus that Lord Krishn is Uchchaishrav, Indr’s horse that is said to have been churned out of the nectar that came from the ocean. A horse is a symbol of regulated motion. Lord Krishn is the motion of the mind in its quest for the reality of the Self. He is also king among men. A great soul is in fact a king, because he wants for nothing.
“I am Vajr among weapons, Kamdhenu among cows,
Kamdev for procreation, and Vasuki, the king of snakes.”
Lord Krishn is the most formidable among weapons. Among cows he is Kamdhenu. Kamdhenu is not a cow which serves appetizing delicacies in place of milk. Among sages it was Vashisth who had Kamdhenu. Symbolically, the word “cow” stands for the senses.
Restraint of the senses is an attribute of the seeker who has learnt to grasp the object of his worship. When he succeeds in moulding his senses in tune with God, his senses themselves become a “Kamdhenu” for him. With this he attains to the stage when the attainment of God is by, no means beyond reach.
A seeker at this level finds nothing beyond his grasp. Lord Krishn is also Kamdev for reproduction. However, the birth he effects is not the physical birth of a male or female child. Such procreation, by both animate and inanimate beings, goes on day and night. Even rats and ants reproduce themselves. But the generation of new life by Lord Krishn is the generation of new situations-change from one circumstance to another-by which the inner propensities themselves are changed. Among snakes, Lord Krishn is Vasuki, the celebrated king of snakes who is said to be a son of Kashyap.
“I am Sheshnag among the nag (snakes),
the god Varun among beings of water, Aryama among ancestors,
and Yamraj among rulers.”
Lord Krishn is the infinite or “Shesh nag.” Sheshnag is in fact no snake. There is a description of its form in the composition called Shreemad Bhagwat which is contemporaneous with the Bhagavad Gita. According to it, Sheshnag is an embodiment of God’s vaishnavi (Vishnu) power which is stationed at a distance of thirty thousand yojan from the earth and on whose head the earth rests lightly like a grain of mustard. This is, in truth, a picture of the force of gravity between objects which keeps the stars and planets in their respective orbits. This force winds itself around all of them and holds them like a snake. This is the infinite that holds the earth, too.
Lord Krishn says that he is that divine principle. He is also Varun, the king of amphibious beings, and Aryama among ancestors. Non-violence, truth, detachment, continence, and freedom from doubt are the five yam, moral restraints and observances. “Arah” represents the cutting off of the aberrations that appear in the way of their practice. Elimination of these evils brings to fulfillment the merits of action done is a previous life, which then provides liberation from worldly bondage. Among rulers Lord Krishn is Yamraj, guardian of the restraints called yam.
“I am Prahlad among daitya (demons), unit of time for reckoners,
the lion (mrigendr) among beasts, and Garud among birds.”
Sri Krishn is Prahlad among demons. Prahlad (par + ahlad) is joy for others. Love itself is Prahlad. Attraction to God and the impatience to be one with him while one is yet dwelling with demoniacal instincts is a process that ultimately leads to perception. Lord Krishn is the joyous love of this union. He is also time among those who are given to counting its units. This reckoning is really not of numbers and of divisions of time. Lord Krishn is rather the progressive lengthening of time that is devoted to the contemplation of God. He is the time of incessant remembrance of God not only in the hours of wakefulness but also in sleep. Among beasts he is mrigendra, the lion or king of beasts, a symbol of the yogi who also roams about and rules in the forest of yog.
Lord Krishn is also Garud among feathered creatures. Garud is knowledge. When the awareness of God begins to grow, the worshiper’s mind itself turns into a vehicle of the adored God. On the other hand, the same mind is like a “serpent” (sarp: an epithet of Garud) when it is infested with worldly desires, stinging and hurling Souls into the inferno of mortal births. Garud is Vishnu’s vehicle. When it is blessed with knowledge, the mind also turns into a vehicle on which is borne the unmanifest Spirit that permeates every atom of the universe. So Lord Krishn is the mind that holds and carries the worshiped God within itself.
“I am the wind among powers that refine, Ram among armed warriors,
the crocodile among fishes, and the sacred Bhagirathi Ganga among rivers.”
Sri Krishn is the invincible Ram among wielders of weapons. Ram denotes one who rejoices. Yogi rejoice in knowledge. The signals received from the God they worship are their sole pleasure. Ram symbolizes that direct perception and Lord Krishn is that awareness. He is also the mighty crocodile among amphibian beings and the most sacred Ganga among rivers.
“I am, O Arjun , the beginning and end and also the middle of created beings, the mystic knowledge of Self among sciences,
and the final arbiter among disputants.’’
Among branches of learning Lord Krishn is knowledge of the Supreme Spirit (as well as of the relation between the Supreme and the individual Soul). He is the knowledge that leads to the sovereignty of the Self. Dominated by maya, the vast majority are driven by passion, malice, time, action, disposition, and the three properties of nature.
Lord Krishn is the knowledge that takes one from this slavery of the material world into the state in which the Self is in supreme command. This is the knowledge that is called adhyatm. He is also the final verdict that resolves all disputes on the Supreme Spirit. What comes beyond this is, it is needless to say, beyond arbitration.
“I am the vowel akar among the letters of the alphabet,
dwandwa among compounds, theeternal Mahakal amidst mutable time,
and also the God who holds and sustains all.”
Besides being the first sound of the sacred OM, Lord Krishn is also the imperishable, immutable time. Time is always changing, but he is that state-that time-which takes one to the eternal God. He is also the Omnipresent Spirit (Virat Swarup) who pervades and sustains all.
“I am the death that annihilates all, the root of the creations to be,
and Keerti among women-the embodiment of the feminine qualities
of accomplishing action (keerti) vitality, speech, memory,
awareness (medha), patience and forgiveness.”
As per Yogeshwar Krishn, all beings (Purush) are of only two kinds, the perishable and the imperishable. All these bodies which generate other beings and die are mortal. Whether male or female, they are all Purush according to Lord Krishn. The other Purush is the imperishable Cosmic Spirit who is perceived in the state when the mind has ceased to be. This is the reason why men and women equally can attain the supreme goal. The qualities of vitality, memory, awareness, and so on pointed out are all feminine in principle. Does it mean that men have no need of these qualities? In truth, the animating principle of the heart’s sphere is a feminine principle. The qualities enumerated in the verse need to be inculcated in all hearts, of men as much as of women.
“And I am the Sam Ved among scriptural hymn,
the Gayatri among metrical compositions,
the ascendant Agrahayan among months, and the spring among seasons.”
Among the sacred Vedic texts (Shruti) that are fit to be sung, Lord Krishn is the Sam Ved (Vrihatsam), the song that produces evenness of mind. He is the spiritual awakening in these hymns. He, too, is Gayatri among verses.
The Gayatri, it is important to realize, is a metrical composition of self-denying prayer rather than a spell or charm, the recitation of which brings automatic salvation. After straying thrice, throwing himself at the mercy of the desired God, the sage Vishwamitr addressed him as the essence that permeates the earth, all the worlds, and the Self, and entreated him to confer wisdom on him and to inspire him so that he could know his reality. So, as it may be seen, Gayatri is a prayer. The worshiper is not able to resolve his doubts by his own intelligence; he does not know when he is right or in error. So Lord Krishn is the Gayatri by which the hapless worshiper surrenders himself to God. This prayer is doubtlessly propitious, for by this the devotee seeks refuge in Lord Krishn. Lord Krishn is also the ascendant season of joy. He is the state of felicity.
Lord Krishn sings:
“I am the deceit of cheating gamblers, the glory of renowned men,
the victory of conquerors, the determination of the resolved,
and the virtue of the pious.”
The idea of gambling in the verse refers to the fundamental character of nature. Nature itself is a gambler and cheat. To forsake outward show and engage in the way of private adoration to escape from the contradictions of nature is an act of “deception.” But to call it “deception” is hardly appropriate, for such secretiveness is essential to the worshiper’s security. It is required that the worshiper, although in possession of a heart that is lit up with knowledge, appear outwardly ignorant like a benumbed Bharat-like one who is insane, blind, deaf and dumb. Although he sees, he should show as if he knows nothing; although he hears, it should appear that he has heard nothing. The canon of worship is that it should be private and secret. Only then can he win in the gamble of nature. Lord Krishn is the victory of winners and the resolution of men of enterprise. The determination required for yog, its wisdom, and direction are all one and the same. Lord Krishn is the dynamic mind, and also the magnificence and enlightenment of virtuous men.
“I am Vasudev among the descendants of Vrishni,
Dhananjay among the Pandav, Vedvyas among sages,
and Shukracharya among poets.”
Lord Krishn is Vasudev, or the one who is everywhere, among the Vrishni race. He is Dhananjay among the Pandav. Pandu (father of the Pandav) is a symbol of piety; he is the one in whom virtue is awakened. Realization of the Self is the only real and lasting wealth. Lord Krishn is Dhananjay-the one who earns and stores the treasure of Self-knowledge. He is Vyas among sages. He is the sage who has the ability to express the idea of perfection. Among poets he is Ushn (Shukr) who has in the Ved the epithet kavya attributed to him, and who also has the wisdom to lead the Soul to God.
“And I am the oppression of tyrants,
the wise conduct of those who aspire to succeed,
silence among secrets, and also the knowledge of enlightened men.”
“And, O Arjun, I am also the seed from which all beings have sprung up,
because there is nothing animate or inanimate which is without my maya.”
There is nothing, no being, in the whole world who is devoid of Lord Krishn because he pervades all. All beings resemble him and are close to him.
“What I have told you, O Parantap, is only
a brief abstract of my countless glories.”
“Know that whatever is possessed of glory, beauty,
and strength has arisen from my own splendour.’’
“Or, instead of knowing anything more, O Arjun,
just remember that I am here and I bear the whole world
with just a fraction of my power.”
Lord Krishn’s enumeration of his manifold glories by analogy does not imply that either Arjun or anyone of us should begin to adore the beings and objects he has cited for illustration. The exercise is rather aimed at enlightening men who are inclined to the worship of other gods and goddesses as well as of objects and creatures such as trees, rivers, planets, and serpents, that they have acquitted themselves well of their duties to all these divinities, objects, and beings by just adoring Lord Krishn alone.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~