Gita Series – 104: Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX. Verse 16 - 19:

I am the ritual, I am the sacrifice, I am the offering to the ancestors, I am the medicinal and other plants, I am the mantra, I am the ghee, I am the sacred fire, I am the oblation. I am the father, mother and grandfather of this universe, I am the supporter, worth knowing, I am the purifier, I am the sacred syllable OM, I am the three Vedas. I am the Supreme goal, I am the sustainer, I am the Lord, the witness, the abode, the friend, I am the origin, I am the dissolution, I am the imperishable seed. I am the solar heat, I send and withhold rain, I am eternal, as well as death. I am existence and non-existence.”

Krishna says that He is everything. His omnipresent nature is conveyed by Him. In every ritual, He is present or He Himself is the ritual. If the ritual is physically performed, He is there in the ritual. If the ritual is mentally performed He is also present there. There is an ancient saying that a human is like a place of worship (temple, church, masjid) and his mind is the sanctum sanctorum. The spirituality gets firmly rooted if pursued through a pure mind. The Lord is not the one who is someone external to us. Like He exists everywhere, He also exists within us. Searching the Lord within is realization and searching Him as an extraneous person is worship. For liberation, realizing Him is important, rather than worshipping Him as someone different from us. For example, when Krishna says that He is the clarified butter, the sacrificial fire and the oblations, the three important ingredients of a fire ritual, naturally the question arises, for whom the sacrifice is made? If He is in the form of our ancestors, then for whom offerings to ancestors are made? For the one who has totally surrendered to the Lord, such questions do not arise in His mind, as he considers everything and everyone as the Lord Himself. Lord becomes his friend, philosopher and guide and maneuvers him further either directly or indirectly to attain liberation. Such a person does not attach any importance to rituals. But, this does not mean that rituals are to be dispensed with. They are only the stepping stones into the spiritual world that is full of bliss. Even the sun awaits His command to shine and the rain awaits His command to shower. Upanishads say that only out of fear for Him, the sun shines and every other celestial objects carryout their duties.

Krishna makes every possible attempt to make His disciple, Arjuna. to understand Him thoroughly. As far as Arjuna is concerned, Krishna plays a dual role. One, as his Master and another as the Lord. Having taught him about the necessity to understand Him as the Brahman or the Lord or Brahma (Brahmā is different from Brahma. Brahmā refers to the Lord of Creation and Brahma is the Supreme Reality, also known as the Brahman), Krishna through these verses explains the attributes of the Brahman. To make Arjuna understand better, He chooses to explain difference aspects of His creative, constructive and dissolving powers. He could have simply chosen to say that He is the cause of every action that unfolds in this universe. But in order to drive home this point firmly, Krishna says that He exists in different actions and different things. The Lord sets an example for other masters to follow. The primary duty of a master is to infuse knowledge without the disciple nurturing any doubts. We should not forget that the Lord has two forms. One is His māyā form, the illusionary one and another is his Self-illuminating form, literally speaking, His formless form.

Krishna lays strong foundation in the first half of Bhagavad Gita and sets the trend for the second section of Bhagavad Gita where He discloses more of His secrets and finer ways to attain Him.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX. 15

Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX. 20 - 21

Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX. 22 - 24