- Since the ideal form of yoga centers on Krishan this chapter describes knowledge of Krishna, the process of obtaining that knowledge and what one might expect when such knowledge is accessed.
- Krishna begins to give Arjuna an esoteric understanding of all such details so that he might properly engage in "linking with God" (which is what the word yoga literally means.)The Lord identifies Himself as the Supreme Absolute Truth and tells Arjuna that everything in existence is a combination of His material and spiritual energies.The Soul is essentially a part of God and it manifests itself in the form of an insect, animal, man or woman as per the past Karmas.
- The material world's activities are governed by the three modes of nature-goodness, passion and ignorance, of which He is the source. Only those who surrender unto Him can rise beyond them.
- Four kinds of impious souls will never surrender while four kinds of pious one do. Krishna urges Arjuna to be among the pious four, in His service.He asserts that by such pious action, one can focus on Him at the time of death and thus attain the spiritual realm. The sacred syllable OM in the Vedas and the presence of life in all beings verify this truth.
Lord Krishna clarifies, "Only those who constantly adore Me are able to understand Me (verse 8 to 14). Therefore foolish and vile men criticise Me. However out of the following four devotees I am most fond of the Gyanis, who fall under the fourth category.
a) The sufferers or the afflicted known as AART.
b) Demanders of worldly objects or self-centred people called the ARTHARTHI.
c) Seekers of knowledge or the good things in life named the JIGYASU.
d) Godly men or symbols of wisdom better known as the GYANIS (16). In the very last of all births, the enlightened soul worships me and such a human is a Mahatma Sudurlabhah (19)
The moral of this chapter is:
* People who love God are indeed exceptional. Most living beings are not born as humans and even if they are they inevitably indulge in name-fame, money and other mundane matters after taking birth as a male or female( 3) .
* Veiled by Yogmaya, the Lord is not manifest to such ignorant people who instead of worshipping the Supreme Creator often please smaller deities. The boons given by them are temporary and perishable in nature (24- 25). But if we propitiate God, other gods and godesses are pleased invariably.
So let us leaf through the original 31 verses to find solace in this knowledge.
Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha:
Mayyaasaktamanaah paartha yogam yunjanmadaashrayah;
Asamshayam samagram maam yathaa jnaasyasi tacchrinu.
The Blessed Lord said:
1. O Arjuna, hear how you shall without doubt know Me fully, with the mind intent on Me, practising Yoga and taking refuge in Me!
COMMENTARY: If you sing the glories and attributes of the Lord, you will develop love for Him and then your mind will be ever fixed on Him. Intense love for the Lord is real devotion. With this you must surely get full knowledge of the Self.
Jnaanam te'ham savijnaanam idam vakshyaamyasheshatah;
Yajjnaatwaa neha bhooyo'nyaj jnaatavyamavashishyate.
2. I shall declare to thee in full this knowledge combined with direct realisation, after knowing which nothing more here remains to be known.
Manushyaanaam sahasreshu kashchidyatati siddhaye;
Yatataamapi siddhaanaam kashchinmaam vetti tattwatah.
3. Among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows Me in essence.
Bhoomiraapo'nalo vaayuh kham mano buddhireva cha;
Ahamkaara iteeyam me bhinnaa prakritirashtadhaa.
4. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and egoism—thus is My Nature divided eightfold.
Apareyamitastwanyaam prakritim viddhi me paraam;
Jeevabhootaam mahaabaaho yayedam dhaaryate jagat.
5. This is the inferior Prakriti, O mighty-armed (Arjuna)! Know thou as different from it My higher Prakriti (Nature), the very life-element by which this world is upheld.
Etadyoneeni bhootaani sarvaaneetyupadhaaraya;
Aham kritsnasya jagatah prabhavah pralayastathaa.
6. Know that these two (My higher and lower Natures) are the womb of all beings. So, I am the source and dissolution of the whole universe.
Mattah parataram naanyat kinchidasti dhananjaya;
Mayi sarvamidam protam sootre maniganaa iva.
7. There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, O Arjuna! All this is strung on Me as clusters of gems on a string.
COMMENTARY: There is no other cause of the universe but Me. I alone am the cause of the universe.
Raso'hamapsu kaunteya prabhaasmi shashisooryayoh;
Pranavah sarvavedeshu shabdah khe paurusham nrishu.
8. I am the sapidity in water, O Arjuna! I am the light in the moon and the sun; I am the syllable Om in all the Vedas, sound in ether, and virility in men.
Punyo gandhah prithivyaam cha tejashchaasmi vibhaavasau;
Jeevanam sarvabhooteshu tapashchaasmi tapaswishu.
9. I am the sweet fragrance in earth and the brilliance in fire, the life in all beings; and I am austerity in ascetics.
Beejam maam sarvabhootaanaam viddhi paartha sanaatanam;
Buddhir buddhimataamasmi tejastejaswinaamaham.
10. Know Me, O Arjuna, as the eternal seed of all beings; I am the intelligence of the intelligent; the splendour of the splendid objects am I!
Balam balavataam asmi kaamaraagavivarjitam;
Dharmaaviruddho bhooteshu kaamo'smi bharatarshabha.
11. Of the strong, I am the strength devoid of desire and attachment, and in (all) beings, I am the desire unopposed to Dharma, O Arjuna!
Ye chaiva saattvikaa bhaavaa raajasaastaamasaashcha ye;
Matta eveti taanviddhi na twaham teshu te mayi.
12. Whatever being (and objects) that are pure, active and inert, know that they proceed from Me. They are in Me, yet I am not in them.
Tribhirgunamayair bhaavairebhih sarvamidam jagat;
Mohitam naabhijaanaati maamebhyah paramavyayam.
13. Deluded by these Natures (states or things) composed of the three qualities of Nature, all this world does not know Me as distinct from them and immutable.
Daivee hyeshaa gunamayee mama maayaa duratyayaa;
Maameva ye prapadyante maayaametaam taranti te.
14. Verily this divine illusion of Mine made up of the qualities (of Nature) is difficult to cross over; those who take refuge in Me alone cross over this illusion.
Na maam dushkritino moodhaah prapadyante naraadhamaah;
Maayayaapahritajnaanaa aasuram bhaavamaashritaah.
15. The evil-doers and the deluded, who are the lowest of men, do not seek Me; they whose knowledge is destroyed by illusion follow the ways of demons.
Chaturvidhaa bhajante maam janaah sukritino'rjuna;
Aarto jijnaasurartharthee jnaanee cha bharatarshabha.
16. Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna! They are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O lord of the Bharatas!
Teshaam jnaanee nityayukta eka bhaktirvishishyate;
Priyo hi jnaanino'tyarthamaham sa cha mama priyah.
17. Of them, the wise, ever steadfast and devoted to the One, excels (is the best); for, I am exceedingly dear to the wise and he is dear to Me.
Udaaraah sarva evaite jnaanee twaatmaiva me matam;
Aasthitah sa hi yuktaatmaa maamevaanuttamaam gatim.
18. Noble indeed are all these; but I deem the wise man as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind, he is established in Me alone as the supreme goal.
Bahoonaam janmanaamante jnaanavaanmaam prapadyate;
Vaasudevah sarvamiti sa mahaatmaa sudurlabhah.
19. At the end of many births the wise man comes to Me, realising that all this is Vasudeva (the innermost Self); such a great soul (Mahatma) is very hard to find.
Tam tam niyamamaasthaaya prakrityaa niyataah swayaa.
20. Those whose wisdom has been rent away by this or that desire, go to other gods, following this or that rite, led by their own nature.
Yo yo yaam yaam tanum bhaktah shraddhayaarchitum icchati;
Tasya tasyaachalaam shraddhaam taameva vidadhaamyaham.
21. Whatsoever form any devotee desires to worship with faith—that (same) faith of his I make firm and unflinching.
Sa tayaa shraddhayaa yuktastasyaaraadhanameehate;
Labhate cha tatah kaamaan mayaiva vihitaan hi taan.
22. Endowed with that faith, he engages in the worship of that (form), and from it he obtains his desire, these being verily ordained by Me (alone).
Antavattu phalam teshaam tadbhavatyalpamedhasaam;
Devaan devayajo yaanti madbhaktaa yaanti maamapi.
23. Verily the reward (fruit) that accrues to those men of small intelligence is finite. The worshippers of the gods go to them, but My devotees come to Me.
Avyaktam vyaktimaapannam manyante maamabuddhayah;
Param bhaavamajaananto mamaavyayamanuttamam.
24. The foolish think of Me, the Unmanifest, as having manifestation, knowing not My higher, immutable and most excellent nature.
Naaham prakaashah sarvasya yogamaayaasamaavritah;
Moodho'yam naabhijaanaati loko maamajamavyayam.
25. I am not manifest to all (as I am), being veiled by the Yoga Maya. This deluded world does not know Me, the unborn and imperishable.
Vedaaham samateetaani vartamaanaani chaarjuna;
Bhavishyaani cha bhootani maam tu veda na kashchana.
26. I know, O Arjuna, the beings of the past, the present and the future, but no one knows Me.
Icchaadweshasamutthena dwandwamohena bhaarata;
Sarvabhootaani sammoham sarge yaanti parantapa.
27. By the delusion of the pairs of opposites arising from desire and aversion, O Bharata, all beings are subject to delusion at birth, O Parantapa!
Yeshaam twantagatam paapam janaanaam punyakarmanaam;
Te dwandwamohanirmuktaa bhajante maam dridhavrataah.
28. But those men of virtuous deeds whose sins have come to an end, and who are freed from the delusion of the pairs of opposites, worship Me, steadfast in their vows.
Jaraamaranamokshaaya maamaashritya yatanti ye;
Te brahma tadviduh kritsnam adhyaatmam karma chaakhilam.
29. Those who strive for liberation from old age and death, taking refuge in Me, realise in full that Brahman, the whole knowledge of the Self and all action.
Saadhibhootaadhidaivam maam saadhiyajnam cha ye viduh;
Prayaanakaale'pi cha maam te vidur yuktachetasah.
30. Those who know Me with the Adhibhuta (pertaining to the elements), the Adhidaiva (pertaining to the gods), and Adhiyajna (pertaining to the sacrifice), know Me even at the time of death, steadfast in mind.
COMMENTARY: They who are steadfast in mind, who have taken refuge in Me, who know Me as knowledge of elements on the physical plane, as knowledge of gods on the celestial or mental plane, as knowledge of sacrifice in the realm of sacrifice,—they are not affected by death.
Hari Om Tat Sat
Iti Srimad Bhagavadgeetaasoopanishatsu Brahmavidyaayaam
Yogashaastre Sri Krishnaarjunasamvaade
Jnaanavijnaanayogo Naama Saptamo'dhyaayah
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the seventh discourse entitled:
"The Yoga of Wisdom and Realisation"
COMMENTARY ON CHAPTER 7
To exemplify, Swami Shivanandaji gives a summary of the Seventh Discourse as under:--
Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the supreme Godhead has to be realised in both its transcendent and immanent aspects. The Yogi who has reached this summit has nothing more to know.
This complete union with the Lord is difficult of attainment. Among many thousands of human beings, very few aspire for this union, and even among those who aspire for it, few ever reach the pinnacle of spiritual realisation.
The Lord has already given a clear description of the all-pervading static and infinite state of His. Now He proceeds to explain His manifestations as the universe and the power behind it. He speaks of these manifestations as His lower and higher Prakritis. The lower Prakriti is made up of the five elements, mind, ego and intellect. The higher Prakriti is the life-element which upholds the universe, activates it and causes its appearance and final dissolution.
Krishna says that whatever exists is nothing but Himself. He is the cause of the appearance of the universe and all things in it. Everything is strung on Him like clusters of gems on a string. He is the essence, substance and substratum of everything, whether visible or invisible. Although everything is in Him, yet He transcends everything as the actionless Self. Prakriti or Nature is made up of the three Gunas or qualities—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. These three qualities delude the soul and make it forget its true nature, which is one with God. This delusion, termed Maya, can only be removed by the Grace of the Lord Himself.
Thus far Arjuna has been taught the highest form of devotion, which leads to union with God in His static aspect as also with His dynamic Prakriti. Krishna tells him that there are also other forms of devotion which are inferior as they are performed with various motives. The distressed, the seeker of divine wisdom, and he who desires wealth, worship Him, as also the wise. Of these the Lord deems the wise as dearest to Him. Such a devotee loves the Lord for the sake of pure love alone. Whatever form the devotee worships, the ultimate goal is the Lord Himself. The Lord accepts such worship, knowing that it is directed to Him only.
Chapter VII of GITAJI has 31 verses. It mentions original verses from Srimad Bhagwad Gita. On this chapter many knowledgeable commentaries are accessible:
- From the stable of Gita-press in Gorakhpur we have ‘Gita-tika’ by Seth Jaidayal Goenkaji, ; y Saint Hanuman Prasad Poddarji alias Bhaiji ;Swami Ramsukhdasji and other saints . Those believing in Gyan-yog, repeatedly read the one by Sethji and those who have faith in Bhakti-yog read more of Bhaiji. Swami Ramsukhdasji has tried to balance the two and his Gita-Darpan commentary is simply marvellous.
- We have other interprations by ancient Acharyas namely’Gita-tika’ by Ramanujacharya, Vallabhachrya, Gyaneshwarji, Shankarcharyaji and so on.
- 20th century Saints like Swami Shivanandaji, Chidanandaji of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, and ISCKON's Prabhupadji have penned their versions.
- Modern day thinkers like Lokmanya Tilak and Dr Radhakrishnan have documented their observations on the text.
- A rather simplistic summary in the 17 to18th chapters sums up the 'Gita'.This is after a time span of 30 years satsang with Saint Ushaji , Susheelaji and Manoharji of Swami Ramkrishan Paramhansa fame.