|Chapter 7||Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth||Verse 1|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
In the preceding chapters the true nature of the atma or soul has been delineated along with descriptions of different processes of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Now Lord Krishna will describe the Divine transcendental form to be worshipped. At the conclusion of chapter six he stated that the yogi imbued with full faith who dedicatedly worships the Supreme Lord by being completely immersed in meditation upon in Him is the most elevated. Now the question that may arise is what is the nature of the Supreme Lord to whom such worship is to be given. To answer this possible question the Blessed Lord with a view of describing His own nature for the devotees whose minds are exclusively engrossed in Him, taking total refuge in Him while practising yoga. To these devotees He is saying listen to this special knowledge which will reveal His eternal attributes and manifestations and by which one will know His true nature alleviating all doubts.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Hari OM! The previous six chapters known as the section on karma yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness by selfless actions, the method of acquiring spiritual wisdom was described. Now the next six chapters known as the bhakti yoga section or the yoga of devotion primarily describe the glories and greatness of the Supreme Lord. The words asakta-manah means an extremely attached mental disposition. Utilising this attachment a person takes complete shelter of the Supreme Lord understanding that Lord Krishna is the ultimate controller, the ultimate protector and the ultimate refuge of all living entities. Understanding this reality fully with asamsayam or free from doubt without any reservation is the special meaning here.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
In the first six chapters of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita comprising the first division known as the Karma Yoga section which is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness by the performance of prescribed Vedic activities with detachment. There the subject matter primarily delineated was with reference to how an aspirant may achieve atma tattva or realisation of the soul by adopting the path of karma yoga. Atma-tattva is essential and ancillary to constant devotion and the continuous meditation necessary by which communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures as well as His eternal associates. He is the ultimate and the supreme goal to be attained, one without a second and worthy of everyone's endeavour for devotion to. He is Parabrahma the Supreme Being. He is niravadya or perfect, He is the sole causeless cause of the entire creation and the total cosmic manifestation. Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, infallible and eternal. The Supreme Soul of all living entities and the Supreme Controller for all of existence.
Now the middle section of six chapters from seven to twelve comprising the second division of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita known as the Bhakti Yoga section which is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness by loving devotion to the Supreme Lord. The subject matters revealed are the nature of Parabrahma the Supreme Being of All, Parama Purusa the Supreme Spirit of all and the method and modes of loving devotion and meditation are to be offerred to Him. This is known as bhakti. The mode of such devout love called bhakti is summarised in the final chapter eighteen, with the verses XXXXVI where Lord Krishna states: That humans attain perfection by rendering devotional service to the all pervasive Supreme Lord from whom all created beings have come into existence and from whom all created beings receive their life impulses. In verse LIII He states: That being completely detached from all designations, free from false ego, lust for power, arrogance, desire and anger while being completely equipoise and peaceful internally one becomes eligible to realise and experience the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. In verse LIV He states that when situated in the state of the Brahman one laments not and craves not and thus being joyful obtains bhakti to the Supreme Lord.
This constant state of meditation in devout love for the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in the Vedic scriptures is known as bhakti and constitutes the method and means by which to attain communion with the Supreme Lord. This is confirmed in various Vedic scriptures. In the Svetasavatara Upanisad, III.VIII it states: Meditating on Him solely one crosses over the ocean of mortality. In the Taittiriya Upanisad III.II it states: The knower of the Supreme Being thus becomes immortal. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad II.IV it states: The atma or soul alone is to be intently contemplated on for deliverance and in the same scripture beginning at I.IV it states:The omniscient atma itself is the worshipable goal to attain. In the Chandogya Upanisad it states:The mind being pure, meditation is stable, with concentration fixed all knots are untied.
The Mundaka Upanisad II.II it states: The knot of the heart is cut asunder, any lingering doubts are dissolved, all reactions to actions are terminated to one whom the Supreme Lord has manifested within their heart. The words bhakti meaning loving devotion and dhyana or meditation and upasana or divine ecstasy and other similar terms are synonymous and indicative of the continuity and potency of remembrance and reflection through realisation of the atma on the Supreme Lord so intensely that one flows into communion with Him as an actual perceptive experience. In the Katha Upanisad II.XXIII it states that: Not by deliberation is the atma perceived, nor by concentration, neither by erudite knowledge. The atma is perceived by one in whom the Supreme Lord Himself elects to reveal His essence. This verse conclusively confirms that the path of Bhakti Yoga is of an ecstatically joyful experience which induces the Supreme Lord Himself to blissfully reciprocate with such a felicitous devotee being that he has made the Supreme Lord the sole object of his love. So it can be understood that upanasa or divine ecstasy is non-different from bhakti or loving devotion. That the terms upasana and bhakti are equivalent in all respects is also evident from other Vedic passages. In the Taittirya Upanisad III.VII beginning tam nanyah pantha ayanaya vidyate it states: One who has realised the Supreme Being becomes immortal then and there, no other path to moksa or liberation exists. In VI.LIII of the same scripture beginning na ham vedaih it states: Not only by knowing the Vedas or performing austerities, or giving gifts or the performance of yagnas or worship in propitiation can the Supreme Lord be perceived. And in VI:LIV beginning bhaktya tu ananyaya it states: By loving devotion exclusively is the Supreme Being to be perceived and known.
Thus the seventh chapter beginning the second division of Srimad Bhagavad Gita which is the Bhakti Yoga section delineates:
1) The essential nature of the Paramapurua or Supreme Spirit as an object of meditation. 2) The mystification of the Divine nature by the veil of material nature. 3) The resignation of oneself to the Supreme Being in order to transcend this veil. 4) The classification of the aspirants who have chosen the path of bhakti. 5) The pre-eminence among them of those who are the Supreme Lord's devotees.
The words mayy-asakta-manah denotes one whose mind is affectionately focused on the Supreme Lord Krishna. So much so is one attached to Him and so impassioned is their love for Him that that if one feels separated from Him for even a moment either by being without His close proximity or by the entrance into the mind of any thoughts not relevant to Him; or if one were to temporarily not remember Him for any reason, that would subsequently be the cause of such a person to consider their whole life as meaningless. The words mad-asrayah means complete dependence upon the Supreme Lord without whom one could not even exist.
Next learn about how one who joyfully engages in Bhakti Yoga with a loving heart in transcendental ecstasy will realise the Supreme Lord as He is in all His splendour and glory.
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
I humbly bow down to the Supreme Lord Krishna, the ultimate controller of all creation, who is only accessible through bhakti or loving devotion which is the highest of the highest, who by His causeless mercy is also the bestower of such bhakti to whom He chooses and who dispels the darkness of ignorance known as maya or the delusion of illusion.
The first six chapters of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita known as the karma yoga section were revealed for the aspirants of moksa or liberation from the material existence to establish that the highest and most profound human goal is to attain communion with the Supreme Lord by realisation of the embodied atma or soul. Atma tattva or the knowledge of the soul was stated as paramount and the means of achieving moksa along with selfless actions, equanimity, detachment, meditation and as parts of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Now in the next six chapters is being revealed how bhakti or loving devotion is the only means to accomplishing the ultimate goal of communion with the Supreme Lord.
Now in order to describe the path of devotion to the Supreme Lord and to confirm that He is the highest reality and ultimate attainment, possessing eternal divine attributes such as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence and to establish that the Supreme Lord is the ultimate goal and sole recipient worthy of devotion. Also to describe different kinds of devotees of bhakti to the Supreme Lord and their antagonists the non-devotees and the non-believers in God and the Vedic scriptures, the middle six chapters from seven to twelve known as the karma yoga section are being revealed.
In the beginning of chapter seven the description of the nature of the object of devotion is given along with the nature of the devotees. At the conclusion of chapter six, verse forty-seven Lord Krishna declared that one who devotedly worships Him exclusively with their mind focused on him is considered to be the best amongst all yogis or those engaged in perfecting the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. The question one might ask is what is the way to know the Supreme Lord and how should one fix the mind on Him and how should a devotee humbly offer Him worship? Although these questions were not raised by Arjuna; yet without being asked Lord Krishna out of compassion spoke the word chrnu meaning listen and then He spoke the words mad-asrayah meaning with your mind focused on Me.
The Supreme Lord Krishna possessing solely transcendental qualities such as eternity, consciousness and bliss and although appearing in human form is completely beyond the sway of material nature while at the same time being the source of infinite auspicious attributes such as compassion and majesty. One should concentrate their minds on the Supreme Lord of all other lords and worship Him with love and devotion and not like any lesser god for trivial material gains. Then the Supreme Lord of all will be revealed within the etheric heart of one so surrendered in all His splendour, power and glory without fail.