Gita Series – 145: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. Verse 11 – 14

The yogis strive hard to realise Him within. But the ones, who are not perfected and remaining impure, cannot know the Self within, in spite of their best efforts. The effulgence of the sun, which illuminates the whole world, the light of the moon and the fire, all originate from Me. I permeate the earth with my energy and support it. I become the ambrosial moon and nourish the plants. I become the fire and abide in the body of all beings and uniting with inhalation and exhalation, I consume the four types of food.”

Kṛṣṇa says that even the yogis find it difficult to realise Him within. Yogis are those who are able to unite their selves with the Self. Yoga means union and yogi (the correct usage is yogin) means the one, who has accomplished the connection between Self and self. Even a yogi, who has perfected himself, finds it difficult to realise the Self within. Here comes the difference between devotion for the Lord and love for the Lord. Though, both may appear to be more or less the same, there is significant difference between the two. According to many, devotion is nothing but to pray to Him and offer Him something at the appointed time. Rest of the time, they do not think about the Lord. This is not devotion, but only a practice or custom. This type of devotion is too shallow and is not the devotion that Kṛṣṇa had spoken about, in the earlier bhagavad gita chapters. The true devotion is longing for Him deep from the heart, may be in some conceptualized forms. There is nothing in between the aspirant and the Lord here. Both of them stay together. This type of devotion over a period of time, blossoms forth, as love for the Lord. This love will not blossom out, until a person has reached the higher states of devotion, not merely making offerings to Him. The Lord never wants anything from anyone except one’s mind, saturated with His thoughts. The eternal love for Him again matures with time and the aspirant gradually dispenses the form of his Lord and begins to understand His true nature, His blinding effulgence. Kṛṣṇa says that even yogis are finding it difficult to realise the Self Effulgence within, there is no question of a person with an afflicted mind, anywhere close to realizing Him. Irrespective of one’s perseverance, dedication, long hours of practice, etc. without a clean mind, he cannot make any significant spiritual progression, as the Lord is realized only in the realms of the mind.

Kṛṣṇa gives further explanation on the Self. The whole world sustains itself on the light energy of the sun. The energy of the light gets modified into different energies and interpenetrates the earth to sustain different aspects of creation. Without the energy of light, no action can happen in the universe. Hence, Kṛṣṇa says that all the sources of light originate from Him, as He alone is Self illuminating, from whom the sun and fire draws energy. The moon draws the energy from the sun, making the moon dependent on the sun. In Lord’s creation, each aspect of life is interdependent on some other aspect, for effective sustenance. There are certain medicinal herbs that grow only in the moon light. These plants cannot grow to its full potency during sunlight and can produce the medicinal properties only during moonlight. Moon rules over water, the basic necessity for plants to grow. Moon also represents joy, generosity, stability and sacrifice. Apart from the light energy, all other energies are produced by the Lord Himself, though they may appear to originate from the sun. Nature also known as prakṛti is the creation of the Lord. Prakṛti is nothing but His own play field, where the entire manifestations take place and appear as māyā, His illusory aspect. He conceals Himself from the ignorant through veils of māyā.

The Lord is the cause for the fire in the body. The body needs certain temperature for sustenance. The Lord manifests as Vaiśvānara, the digestive fire of human beings present in the stomach. If the food is not burnt by Vaiśvānara, food cannot be assimilated. This fire is fuelled by breath, known as prāṇa comprising both inhalation and exhalation. The inhaled air in conjunction with Vaiśvānara breaks into prāṇa and apāṇa and aids in assimilation and elimination. Vaiśvānara being the Lord’s own manifestation, Kṛṣṇa says that He consumes four types of food. When Vaiśvānara extinguishes, the soul leaves the body causing death. The four types of food are i) solid food that requires chewing; ii) liquids like curd, milk, etc that can be swallowed; iii) licking with the help of the tongue; and iv) sucking directly, for example mango pulp, sugarcane juice, etc. Manipulating prāṇa through proper breathing exercises known as prāṇāyāma, not only energises the body, but also helps to control the mind. This is another example of interdependence in His creation.

Further readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. 7 - 10

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. 15 - 17