Gita Series – 174: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. Verse 61 – 63

Arjuna, the Lord abides in the hearts of all beings, causing them to revolve according to their karmas as if attached to a machine, by His cosmic delusion known as māyā, Take shelter in Him completely, and by His mere grace, you shall obtain supreme peace and the eternal abode. Thus, I have imparted the supreme wisdom, the secret of all secrets. Ponder over it thoroughly and act as you desire.”

The essence Bhagavad Gita is being conveyed through these verses. This message can be interpreted as follows. “The Brahman residing in the hearts of all beings make them to act as per their karmas, through His power of māyā. Surrender unto Him totally, and you will have eternal peace. This is the secret of all secrets. Now it is up to you to decide.”

Lord is the force, by which all the beings are made to act. Without electricity, the light fittings are of no use. The Lord is the electricity that powers the beings to perform. The Lord does not decide how one should perform his duty. It is already decided by his karmas that unfold as actions at the appointed time. Depending upon the bulbs, electricity does not change. Bulbs could be 60 watts, 100 watts, fluorescent lamps, etc. The shapes and sizes of the bulbs could be different but the source for all the bulbs is the same electricity. In the same way, the source for all the beings is the Lord and only the shapes and forms differ. The one who realises this is said to be a Self-realised person and the one who does not realise this is said to be spiritually ignorant.

Māyā is the illusionary aspect of the Brahman. Mā means to measure. When the immeasurable Brahman appears as if measured, is known as māyā. Vedānta holds that we perceive things only in their empirical aspects and not in their essential aspects. The Brahman is the embodiment of purity of mind, consciousness, etc. He is the ultimate reality, underlying all our experiences. Therefore, any kind of existence is essentially the Brahman and hence, He is omnipresent. The Brahman controls māyā holding it as His manifold power to rule over the cosmic process. If one is able to look beyond empirical aspects into the unchangeable essential aspect, the Brahman, one is said to have realized the ever radiating Self, who alone is Self-illuminating. One gets deluded by the effects of māyā, which is always tempting and inducing, he succumbs to illusionary joy and happiness it creates. If one is able to understand the effects of māyā, he will not be deluded, but makes progress to understand the Reality.

Karma is the sum total of consequences of one’s thoughts and actions over his past births. Depending on the nature of one’s karma, one is born as different shapes and forms and undergoes pains and miseries. This process continues over many births, till his entire karmic account is exhausted. Karmas stop accruing only if he chooses to surrender to the Lord consciously. Any amount of ritualistic surrender will never stop the accrual of karmas. The surrender should happen through the mind. Repeated affirmations make this happen. The thought of liberation comes to one’s mind, only when his karmic account permits. When the thought of liberation dawns on him, it means that he is not too far away from liberation. When the thought of Lord dawns on him, he begins to judiciously exercise his freewill, goes past māyā and ultimately surrenders to Him. From that moment onwards, his karmic account does get added up.

When such a situation arises, the grace of the Lord falls on him, which bestows the state of bliss and peace. He merely waits for the time for his liberation. Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna that He had imparted the most secretive spiritual wisdom to him and it is for Arjuna to decide what he should do, whether to fight or not to fight. It should also be remembered that irrespective of Arjuna’s decision, the fate of the war has already been decided by the Law of Karma. This signifies the importance of karma in one’s life. Good thoughts and actions cause good karma and bad thoughts and actions cause bad karma. If one consciously surrenders to the Lord, karmas do not accrue at all. Liberation happens to such a person, soon after all his existing karmas are exhausted.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 54 - 55

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 56 - 60

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 64 - 66