Gita Series – 177: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. Verse 71 – 78
“Have you listened to the holy sermons of Mine with rapt attention, Arjuna? Has your ignorance, born out of delusion, vanished?”
Arjuna answered: “Yes! My delusion has gone by Your grace. I have now regained my knowledge and shall act according to Your words.”
Sañjaya said: “Thus, I have heard the wonderful dialogue between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the great soul Arjuna, with goosebumps all over my body. Through the grace of Śrī Vyāsa, I have directly heard this supreme and the most secretive sermons directly from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of yoga. O King, I rejoice repeatedly in this holy conversation. Remembering that holy form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa repeatedly, I am amazed and I rejoice again and again. Wherever Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are, there will be auspiciousness, victory, glory, and unfailing righteousness. This is my firm conviction.”
With great concern, Kṛṣṇa asks Arjuna whether he has understood His teaching with attention. This is the concern of the Lord for His true seekers. The Lord can be attained through any of the methods of Vedānta. Vedānta is the combination of two words Veda + anta. ‘Veda’ refers to knowledge and ‘anta’ refers to ‘the end of’ which means the end of knowledge. At the end of knowledge, liberation happens. Knowledge here refers to the spiritual knowledge and not the materialistic knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is the knowledge that is required to realise the Brahman. The different categories of Vedānta are beautifully explained by the Living Master thus, “Brahma has no relation to Māyā nor is He residing in the heart of all beings in Advaita vedānta. It is His upādhi Īśvará (the Lord with attributes) who is residing in the heart of all beings. Anyway, even Īśvará is not the owner of Māyā in Ádvaita. Māyā is the Power of the Lord only in Dvaitá and Viśiṣtādvaita. In Ádvaita, it is merely neither real nor unreal (i.e. not created, not manifested by anyone, just a mere mistaking the rope for a snake). Brahma has no relation to Māyā nor is He residing in the heart of all beings in Advaita vedānta. It is His upādhi Īśvará (the Lord with attributes) who is residing in the heart of all beings. Anyway, even Īśvará is not the owner of Māyā in Ádvaita. Māyā is the Power of the Lord only in Dvaitá and Viśiṣtādvaita. In Ádvaita, it is merely neither real nor unreal (i.e. not created, not manifested by anyone, just a mere mistaking the rope for a snake).”
Vedānta is a powerful tool made available to us to realise the Lord within. Vedānta is not a mere intellectual exercise, but an experience by itself. For the beginners, Vedānta can be explained as follows: Several gods and goddesses to satiate our different requirements is the lowest form of Vedānta. Acceptance of a force called God, who is the creator of the universe, is the middle form. Understanding and realising that there is only one Reality, known differently as the Lord, the Brahman, Self, etc is the Ultimate Truth. When one affirms with confidence “I am That” he is known as Self realised person. To attain ultimate liberation through knowledge, one has to pursue the path of non-dualism. Dualistic theories say that the Lord is different from individual soul and cosmos (prakṛti). Qualified non-dualism also accepts soul and cosmos, but as qualities of the Brahman. Non-dualism says everything is the Brahman, and He is the ultimate Truth. All the Upanishads, including Bhagavad Gita dwell elaborately only on non-dualism. In the words of Gabriel Pradiipaka, referred to as the Living Master earlier, “Bráhma cannot be described by any means, i.e. He is not the embodiment of anything. He doesn't control Māyā at all. Not even His upādhi Īśvará does so, because the upādhi-s arise from her and not vice versa. Māyā is neither real nor unreal, and consequently, she is "nothing" which is fit for being controlled. It is just a false notion, not something objectively manifest. To understand this is crucial in Ádvaita. In Ádvaita, Knowledge is the main tool to attain Final Liberation. When you realize Bráhma such as He is and not as Īśvara, that is spiritual enlightenment according to Ádvaita.”
Whatever the branch one pursues is not important, but it has to be pursued with great dedication and sincerity. One’s devotion has to turn into Love for the Lord. If love for Him blossoms forth, it means He is ready for final enlightenment. When his karmic account is nullified, he is liberated and the self realises the Self. It is only the knowledge that is paramount in Advaita philosophy. Only Advaita philosophy says, “I am That” or “I am Brahman”. Through out this commentary, all types of philosophies have been used depending upon the circumstances and narrative necessities.
Arjuna for the first time says that his delusion has gone. For a person like Arjuna, who is highly advanced spiritually, when so many explanations are needed, nothing needs to be said about spiritual aspirants. Spirituality does not mean the expression of religious affiliations. It is much beyond any religion. One has to seek the Lord within, by constantly meditating on Him, focussing his attention on Him. Then only he gets enlightened and attains ultimate liberation. Arjuna got enlightened and now is ready to listen to the words of the Lord.
Sañjaya has referred to in the opening verse of Bhagavad Gita. The great sage Vyāsa had given to Sañjaya, the cosmic eye or the third eye to see the happenings in the battle field. On seeing the Lord enlightening Arjuna, Sañjaya enters into the blissful state and affirms with great confidence, wherever Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna exists, there will be positive vibrations The presence of a true devotee can be realised from the positive vibrations around him.
CHAPTER XVIII OF BHAGAVAD GITA IS CONCLUDED.