Gita Series – 82: Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII. Verses 1 – 3
There are eighteen chapters in Bhagavad Gita, out of which six chapters have been covered so far. In these six chapters, karma (action, without attaching importance to fruits of action) yoga, bhakti (devotion) yoga and jnana (knowledge) yoga have been dealt with by Krishna. But these six chapters did not confine themselves only to one type of yoga. This means when karma yoga is dealt with in one chapter, other two types of yogas are also dealt with in the same chapter, based on the need of the particular percept, but not elaborately. Beginning from the Seventh chapter, each chapter confine themselves on a particular type of yoga. Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII to chapter XII predominantly deal with bhakti yoga, though occasional references are made to other types of yogas. These six chapters are considered as the most important part of Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita Chapters XIII and XIV, deal exclusively with jnana yoga. Again, Bhagavad Gita chapter XV deals in bhakti yoga. Rest of the chapters deals with variety of things such as godly and demonic properties, sacrifices, etc. The final chapter gives a summary of all the three types of yoga. At the end of studying Bhagavad Gita, one is sure to have gained adequate knowledge of seeking the Lord through his mind.
The Bhagavad Gita seventh chapter consists of thirty verses and is known as the chapter on knowledge and wisdom or jnana-vijnana (jñāna-vijñāna) yoga.
Krishna begins this chapter by addressing Arjuna. “Partha! Listen! By practicing yoga with intent mind and taking shelter in Me, I will now tell you how you will know me without any doubts. I will tell you thoroughly about knowledge and realisation, after knowing of which, there shall remain nothing in this world for you to know. Among thousands, one endeavours to realise Me. Among these aspirants, only one understands Me as I am.”
Krishna is now going to unravel the mystery of Supreme Divinity that is generally being known as the Lord, God, Brahman, Spirit, etc. Such names are used by an aspirant according to his convenience or probably according to the society he lives in. One may call “That” as Krishna, another as Shiva, yet another as Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Brahman etc. The names and forms are of no significance in spirituality. The names are more to do with religions and their associated rituals. Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual treatise, like Upanishads. The Ultimate Reality is that God is not limited by time and form. He is beyond all that and cannot be seen with biological eyes. But, God can be realised. His closeness to us can be realised. His energy can be realised. Human life span is short and if one wastes his precious time, in trying to see the God with his biological eyes, it clearly means that he is an embodiment of ignorance. As one has to move beyond this, Krishna, as a spiritual master, explains the ways to achieve the ultimate goal of Self realisation or God realisation.
Krishna begins by saying that one should have determined mind with awareness fixed on Him. There are two important factors that have been advocated here. The first one is the mind, the details of which have been dealt with elaborately in the previous chapters. Primarily, any spiritual aspirant should have a well made out mental process to realise the Lord. An aspirant should never nurture any doubt regarding the existence of the Lord. This conclusion is paramount. Any inhibitions to the contrary are bound to affect the process or Self realisation. This is particularly important when there is a delay in progress. One will be constrained to think that he is pursuing something that not even exists. Delayed results could result in kindling negative thoughts. That is why Krishna first talks about one’s intent.
The second aspect that Krishna gives importance is surrender. Surrender refers to that stage, where one could affirm with confidence that whatever happens is due to His will. If one unhesitatingly surrenders unto Him, the pleasures and pains of life will not have any difference for the aspirant, as he knows they happen to him at His will. Both these aspects, the total faith in the Lord and total surrender to Him are the foundational principles of spirituality. That is why, Krishna as Arjuna’s spiritual master says that he has to listen to His sermons with these two conditions fulfilled as the first step. Once these preliminaries are complied with, Krishna says that he would teach Arjuna, the perfect steps that are needed to realise Him. Krishna does not use the word see, but uses only realise. After His sermons, Krishna assures Arjuna that there will be nothing left to be known in this world. Such is the kind of knowledge about realisation that Krishna is willing to impart on his disciple Arjuna. The situation in which Krishna is going to impart knowledge about the Supreme is very significant. This is not going to happen in a peaceful hermitage. Arjuna is going to be taught in a battle field, where a terrifying war is going to take place with Arjunaa’s relatives and masters on the side of his opponent. Even listening to Krishna’s sermons in that situation is extremely difficult as one’s concentration cannot be fixed on His teachings. One’s mind at that time is prone to weigh the consequences of the war. Another subtle message is also conveyed to Arjuna. Krishna, being an incarnation of the Lord, is capable of conferring only the good, on those who repose faith in Him. This message can be decoded as, “Arjuna, just do not worry. I am the Lord. Have faith in me. Listen to what I say. You will succeed.”
Finally, Krishna says that a true spiritual seeker is hard to find. In the whole of humanity, only a few thousands are seriously interested in pursuing the true spiritual path. Amongst them, only one could reach the logical end of spiritual path, by truly realising the Self within. Others, either do not pursue the correct spiritual path, or could not continue the practice till the end out of frustrations and failures. Realisation is not going to happen that easily, as Krishna Himself says that after such realisation, there will be nothing remaining to be known.