Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 19

Part 18

Part 20

6 Moksha
6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala
6-2-5-3: 13(1 to 11)
Arjuna asks Sri Krishna to explain six terms, namely, Prakriti, Purusha, Kshetra, Kshetrajna, Jnana, and Jneyam. They can be reduced to three. Prakriti and Kshetra are the same and represent the material universe. It is a field of experience. Purusha, Kshetrajna, and Jneyam are the same and represent the consciousness principle. Sri Krishna explains that the body is Kshetra and the knower of Kshetra is Kshetrajna. The physical body is like a field because karma requires a field for performance. In this sense, the mind and external world are also fields. Their common features are that they are made of matter and inert in themselves and further that they are subject to change and decay. A knower of Kshetra is Kshetrajna. The knower is the consciousness principle. Hence Kshetrajna is the consciousness principle.

Consciousness illumines the field and makes it conscious to perform actions. Consciousness does not act nor does it instigate action. It is free from action. Sri Krishna says that He is Kshetrajna because He knows His real nature, consciousness. A Jnani also knows that his real nature is consciousness and therefore he is also a Kshetrajna. Knowledge about Kshetra and Kshetrajna is the true knowledge.

Sri Krishna includes virtuous traits required to gain this knowledge in knowledge. They are in 13(8 to 12): Absence of pride and hypocrisy, non-violence, forgivingness, simplicity in speech, service of the teacher, external and internal purity, firmness of intellect, and control over mind, body, and senses. Dispassion towards the enjoyment of objects of this world and the next, absence of egotism, pondering over pain, evils inherent in birth, old age, and disease. Absence of attachment and sense of mine for son, wife, home, etc, equipoised in favourable and unfavourable situations. Devotion to God, living in a secluded and holy place, not attracted to the company of worldly people. Always be aware of Self-knowledge and knowledge of God.

Sri Krishna explains the true nature of Kshetra, its modifications, the cause, and the effect. In addition, he explains the glory of Kshetrajna. He has already glorified it by saying that He is Kshetrajna of all fields. They are so important that they are in Vedas and have been discussed by sages. If a person gains this knowledge, there is no need to know anything else as there is nothing other than Kshetra and Kshetrajna. Prakriti rests in Purusha in a unmanifest form. It unfolds into creation in stages and jivas are born. Jiva’s mind borrows sentiency from Brahm and it enjoys various experiences with the help of sense organs. The job of the mind is to categorize different experiences into attachment, repulsion, happiness, and sorrow. The creation constitutes the external world and internal psychic world, such as desire, aversion, pleasure, and pain. It is to be kept in mind that creation is the interplay of consciousness and Prakriti.

6-2-5-4: 13(13 to 19)
A jiva becomes immortal when he knows that he is the Self and that the Self is Brahman. Brahman is beginningless, infinite, and without any boundary. It is free from 3-fold limitations: space-wise, time-wise, and attribute-wise. He is said to be neither being nor non-being. It is super-sensuous and is not an object of cognition involving any of the two ideas. Any object perceivable by the senses, such as a pot, etc., can be either an object of cognition involving the idea of existence, or non-existence. But this Knowable, being super-sensuous and known from the scriptures, which are the sole means of (Its) knowledge, is not, like pot, etc.

Upanishad too says that Brahman is different from the known and is also above the unknown. The purport is that Brahman is to be realized as one’s inmost Self. Brahman cannot be expressed by words as said in Upanishadic texts as, ‘From which, words turn back’, etc. Since the Knowable (Brahman) is not an object of the word or thought of ‘being’, there may be apprehension of Its non-existence. To dispel the same, the limiting adjuncts of the field in the form of the organs of all creatures are used. It has hands and feet everywhere following the tradition that Transcendental is described with the help of superimposition and its refutation. All hands, feet, etc., perform their duties due to the presence of the power of the knowable (Brahman). As such Brahman has hands and feet, heads, eyes, ears, and mouths everywhere. However, it is wrong to entertain any notion that the Knowable possesses the adjuncts. Knowable appears to be as though active owing to the functions of all the organs.

Brahman is inside and outside. It is boundary-free. Inside the body, It is the Self. Skin is no boundary. Outside it is the very existence of non-living things and the consciousness of living things. Yet ignorant people do not see It. It is very far for them. It is the nearest for the wise. Because of varying adjuncts, the homogeneous Brahman appears divided. By understanding the field, Knowledge, and the Knowable, a seeker becomes qualified to reach the state of Brahman.

In the presence of light things are known. Every sense organ is a light because, in its presence, things are known. The ultimate light is the consciousness principle which alone enables sense organs and the mind to know anything. An inert entity cannot know. Consciousness is the knowledge principle. It is the knower. Knowing the knower is freedom.

6-2-5-5: 13(20 to 25) Sri Krishna discusses Purusha and Prakriti together as they are closely related. Prakriti and Purusha are Kshetra and Kshetrajna representing matter principle and consciousness principle respectively. Both are beginningless. At the end of one cycle of creation, Prakriti constituted of three qualities rest in Purusha in unmanifest form. At the beginning of the next creation, Prakriti evolves as the universe like a seed into a tree. Initially, five elements (bhutas) in their nascent stage, namely, space ( akasha), air(vayu), fire( agni), water (apah), and earth (prithvi), are born and later five gross elements (bhautikas) through varieties of permutation and combination of nascent forms are born. The five gross elements combine to produce all other things including mind and body. They are made of matter and inert. Mind and body become sentient because of Purusha, consciousness principle. The sentient mind and body are the enjoyer of joy and sorrow. The sentient MBS is engaged in action and according to the laws of karma, it earns punya and papa which are the cause of rebirth. Rebirth may be in lower species or higher species according to the laws of karma. The cycle continues until the karmic balance is burnt by Self-knowledge leading to liberation from rebirth.

There is no difference between embodied consciousness and all-pervasive consciousness, Brahman. Embodied consciousness is jivatma and all pervasive consciousness is Parmatma. If the limitations in the form of MBS are removed, there is no difference between the two. It is like space. There is no difference between space enclosed in a pot and outside space. They look different because of the pot. When the pot is broken, there is one space. Atma is devoid of action. It is witnessing consciousness and its presence makes MBS transact in the world. In this sense, Atma is the sustainer. A jnani knows Purusha and Prakriti completely, and identifies himself with Purusha and not with Prakriti (MBS). Since Prakriti is reborn, a jnani is not reborn. He attains moksha. People try to ‘see’ the embodied soul by karma yoga, by sharp intellect, or by jnana yoga. It is necessary to clarify that karma yoga or other methods cannot directly lead to Self-knowledge. They are the means to undertake jnana yoga which alone can give Self-knowledge. Another important point is that since Atma and Paramatma are the same, one need not search Paramatma outside. Begin inward search.

6-2-5-6: 14(1,2) Sri Krishna again offers to impart the supreme knowledge by which all sages have reached the supreme goal. When the subject matter is very subtle, a teacher must repeat it. Knowledge of Brahman is subtle and repetition is not considered a defect. It is the greatest because all other knowledge is easily available and is produced by human beings. It is divine knowledge with the supreme benefit of attaining Godhead, immortality, and moksha.

6-2-5-7: 15(10,19,20) Sri Krishna laments that though Brahman resides in everyone as Self, ignorant persons do not recognize it and grope in darkness. They are ignorant because they are attracted by three qualities and overlook Brahman which is beyond qualities. Wise people transcend qualities and recognize the Self. They see Brahman in every experience and activity. There is no need to look for Brahman in any extraordinary activity or mysterious experience. Knowing Brahman, wise men are ever established in It. In 15(20), Sri Krishna says that He has imparted the supreme knowledge to Arjuna. On gaining this knowledge, life’s mission is accomplished. Nothing remains to be achieved.

Contd Part 20

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