Gita Series – 100: Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX. Verses 4 – 6:

The whole universe is pervaded by Me in My unmanifest aspect. All beings abide in Me, but I am not present in them. No! All these beings do not abide in Me. They behold My divine power of yoga. Though I am the Creator and the Sustainer of these beings, My ātma do not dwell in them. Just as the wind moves everywhere in ether (ākāś) still remains in ether, all the beings originated from Me abide in Me.

Fundamental of creation is being expounded by Krishna. He talks about His omnipresent nature. If something is omnipresent, obviously it has to be the subtlest and formless. A comparison is drawn to ice and water. Just like water pervading throughout ice, the Lord interpenetrates the universe. Unmanifest aspect of the Brahman is His formless form. Brahman is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. Every existence, be it sentient or insentient is pervaded by Him. He controls all the three aspects, creation, sustenance and dissolution. The universe uses Him as the support to expand. When He says that the whole universe is pervaded by Him, it means His subtle form. When He says that all beings abide in Him, it refers to gross form. This saying of Krishna confirms Katha Upanishad which says that He is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. This reflects the omnipresent nature of the Brahman. He is the source of energy for the universe. Without this highly potent energy, there is no creation, sustenance or dissolution.

Krishna says that all beings abide in Him, but He is not present in them. He further says that all beings abide in Him and subsequently says that all things do not abide in Him. There is an apparent contradiction in what He says, possibly indicating the secrecy. On the face of these statements, one may notice the contradictory nature, but in reality this contradiction is harmonized. The Brahman is the creator, the sustainer and the dissolver. He does not perform these acts on His own. All these acts are done by His power of yoga. For example, clouds depend upon the sky for their existence, but clouds are not always present in the sky. In the same way, beings depend upon Him for their existence but He is not present in them. Sky is not in the clouds, but without the sky clouds cannot exist. Like sky giving support to the clouds, Brahman extends support to the universe. The whole universe was created out of His yogic power and the Lord merely acts as the supporting power. Though, the entire creation is within Him, yet, He is far beyond them. Still the entire creation does not have any other support other than Him. Therefore, it is logical to say that the entire creation abide in Him. Whatever is visible is nothing but the Lord Himself, as without Him, objects cannot be seen. Objects are nothing but His own reflection, but they are not the Lord. That is why Krishna says that all beings originate from Him as He alone supports them, yet He is not in them as they are only His reflections. Now it can be understood that there is no contradiction in what the Lord says. All the beings abide in His yogic power, His kinetic force. He remains all alone, invisible to anyone, yet casting His power on everyone, eternally remaining without a form.

Therefore, scriptures say that the Brahman is to be realised through His various vibratory and life sustaining forces. Trying to understand this Reality is spiritual pursuit. He compares His omnipresence to the ever persisting air in the ether that originated from the ether. In the same way, all the beings originated from Him always persist in Him. Though beings persist in Him, He does not change and always remain the same, like ether remaining always the same, though air always prevails.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita. Chapter IX. 1 - 3

Bhagavad Gita. Chapter IX. 7 - 10

Bhagavad Gita. Chapter IX. 11 - 14