Bhagavad Gita XVIII.55 / Reaching Union in Love
By Loving Me (the One) is born
The Reality of who I am, how great,
Then having Known Me in Truth
One enters into Me immediately, at once!
Bhaktya mam abhijanati
Yavan yashcasmi tattvatah
Tato mam tattvato jñatva
Bhakti Yoga, Jñana Yoga & Karma Yoga
The final chapter XVIII of the Bhagavad Gita is a summing up of all the other chapters. Verse 55 refers to the Yoga of Devotion or simply Loving God, which is the subject of Chapter XII — and my favourite. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that all three aspects of attaining Wisdom are important and in fact interwoven. You need Wisdom-Knowledge, Jñana Yoga (from the root jña = to know) in order to understand why you Love God. Acts, Karma Yoga, that cultivate God-Consciousness emerge as the result of both Wisdom-Knowledge, Jñana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, Devotion.
Love is the underlying principle that generates the universe. The Love of the Creator for all of Its creation supports and sustains our each and every moment in illusory Time. In countless lives we have experienced some form of love, whether it be for another human being, a beloved pet, or even an idea as music or art. What we learn from these experiences is that our love has the power of to hold our focused attention. With no effort whatsoever we are spontaneously able to think of the object of our love throughout the day and night. If you translate this intensity of concentration into the journey toward enlightenment, you can easily understand how valuable a state of Love is to reaching Home.
I have a cherished friend who once asked me to tell him the essence of the Sanskrit texts. What did the ancient Seers, the Rishis know. At the time I was deep in the somewhat daunting challenge of learning the numerous Sanskrit terms used in the Kashmir Shaivite approach, which are very complex and require a dedicated concentration. I knew he was not ready to be open to that sort of application — yet. So knowing what he would most definitely indeed understand, I said smiling, “Love God!”
“Devotion, yes… jñana is nothing before devotion.”
Love for God, the One, is of primary importance also in Kashmir Shaivism. The Kashmir Shaivite saint and scholar, Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals the meaning of the above Verse XVIII.55: “By that bhakti (devotion), by that supreme bhakti, which is real bhakti, you will understand Me, who I am, how much I am and how long I am, how great I am, how broad I am, and how I am broad, and [even] more than that actually. …then you will get entry into that union with Me. Vishate tada, you will undergo, you will melt in that oneness.”
Real bhakti is not an outward show of sentiment. Supreme bhakti happens within the Silence of our own Heart. Love for God is a private matter, just as two lovers can never successfully convey to others the subtle intimacies of their union, our union with the God-within is too subtle and sacred, too mystical to be felt and known by any other than you and God. Mystics hint at their ecstatic rapturous experiences in poetry, but words remain incomplete, incapable of carrying the divine frequencies felt in such experiences. We become attached to Loving the One everywhere.
Swami Lakshmanjoo says that in Kashmir Shaivism the idea of non-attachment is not recognized in the sense of ‘attachment’ to Lord Shiva [as God is termed in Kashmir Shaivism], the Oneness, the God-within, whatever name we call the One who is nameless — rather this form of attachment to God is the highest Wisdom, because everything in this world is divine, in Truth radiating the light of God-Consciousness. “When you believe that this whole, whatever is existing in this universe, in all these one hundred and eighteen worlds, whatever is existing is for the sake of Lord Shiva, who is only existing [meaning the only being, thing that ever does exist], when this is done, then there won’t be any…fruits [of your acts, your karma].”
Swami Muni Narayana Prasad says there are two ways of knowing any thing. One way is to know from the outside, as an observer. The other way is as “the knower knowing Reality as the essential content of his own being.” When our consciousness enters into the God-within, we Become That. It is rather like this — let us say that there is a vessel, a cup of liquid Light residing in our Heart, the heart chakra. When we reach a similitude, a similarity in frequency with that cup of Light, it begins to expand and overflow into and throughout our entire being until none of our old false temporal small-identity self remains. The God-within is a gentle tsunami that permeates our previous consciousness, enlightening us in the Remembrance of our Real identity.
Swami Muni Narayana Prasad says even though this illumination fills our being with blissful serenity, we are still faced with life’s vagaries, Hamlet’s infamous slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. However having Become the God-within, or Brahman (as he terms it), these vagaries no longer cause us to grieve. Wise men do not grieve! We face life with the “boldness of being Brahman. What guides his life is not aspiration for personal benefits, but the joy of partaking of the overall flow of karmas of Prakriti.” In others words, the cyclical flow of the temporal illusory holographic universe is awesomely Joy-filled, when viewed from the eyes of the One within. We see the Oneness everywhere, ubiquitous in All, everyone and everything.
Place the mind in the Heart Chakra
K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya places emphasis on the idea that the author of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa has intently conceived the path of Devotion, Bhakti Yoga, as one that requires balance. Through the voice of Krishna, who is speaking as the One, the poet seer Vyasa “has taken enormous care to ensure that devotion does not degenerate into mere emoting. …maintaining a triadic integration and consistency — of feeling thought and will.” We are reminded of a previous verse Bh.G.VIII.12, in which Krishna instructs Arjuna to place the mind in the Heart chakra; the Sanskrit word used is nirudhya, meaning to confine, suppress, or shut up. Such confinement of the mind in Heart requires great mastery of focused concentration. Our Love for God can produce this kind of one-pointed focus.
The sage Seers, the Rishis who composed the hymns in the Rig Veda, do not speak as the One. They speak in praise of That which is ever mysterious, perhaps even unknowable. The Rishis speak in adoration as observers seeking Truth, Wisdom-Knowledge understanding, Agni as the Fire of Union. They enumerate the aspects of the One as various deities, Agni, Indra, Vayu, Savitri, Surya, Varuna, and others (who esoterically reside within the body). The Seers who composed the later Upanishads, which seek to elucidate, make comprehensible the Rig Veda, also did not speak as the voice of the One.
Vyasa frequently uses passages, sometimes even direct quotes from the Upanishads. Therefore the poet sage Vyasa lived later than these earlier Sanskrit texts. Vyasa's poetic creation of the character Krishna in the epic Mahabharata is said to be based on an actual warrior hero, a black man, meaning very dark skin, who was very popular in South India. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Krishna is 'black'. Vyasa used his Krishna as the voice of the One.
In his book on the Mahabharata, K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya says this regarding Vyasa’s Krishna: “Vyasa has created him [Krishna in the Mahabharata & Gita] essentially as a man who participates with other men in the action of history. To act meaningfully in the world, one has to have a view about its origin and purpose. Vyasa’s profound views on these are expressed through Krishna.” In other words, Krishna is the voice of the brilliant genius sage, seer, and poet Vyasa. God is in all men. India expresses this in the idea of avatar. God speaks through many.
“To give these views the ring of antique insights, Vyasa uses the daring mythopoeic strategy of making Krishna speak as the voice of deity, the intentionality behind creation, in the Gita discourse. Krishna should not be taken more seriously, nor less seriously either, than the prophets known to history through whom God is believed to have spoken. …Vyasa’s temperament is not religious as such…Vyasa was probing the riddle of existence through the modality of poetry, which is perhaps more profound…” [quoted from ‘The Mahabharata, A Literary Study’ - Krishna Chaitanya].
The path Home is accurately described as The Razor’s Edge, and a balance must be continually sought between devotional Love (bhakti), Knowledge (jñana) the mind, and our acts (karma). As Thomas Jefferson so wisely said, 'The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance.' We must not lose our way, again sliding down into the abyss of delusion. K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya in his book “The Betrayal of Krishna” enumerates the excesses that have occurred over the centuries as Vyasa’s Krishna in the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita was transformed into something quite different by the court poets and the later Bhagavata Purana, as Krishna was reinvented and recreated to suit their requirements and conceptions.
Even though the Bhagavad Gita has been extracted for convenience as an external distinct book, it is pivotal to the greater epic and Vyasa’s knowledge of primordial metaphysics are to be found throughout the Mahabharata, especially in the Moksha Dharma Parvan, the Book of Liberation. K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya states that Vyasa chose the form of a poem for a meaningful reason. Krishna’s teachings are not in the format of a dogmatic treatise or philosophical argument. Krishna speaks in Sanskrit rhyme and thus belongs to the world of poetry and aesthetics, and not a particular creed or denomination. According to K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya, Vyasa’s genius was rational and therefore, beyond and totally against cultism.
Bhagavad Gita, In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism, with original video, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, Edited by John Hughes, Co-editors Viresh Hughes and Denise Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2013.
The Gita for Modern Man, by Krishna Chaitanya; Clarion Books, Associated with Hind Pocket Books, New Delhi, 1986, 1992.
KRISHNA CHAITANYA, A Profile and Selected Papers; Edited by Suguna Ramachandra; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, 1991.
Life’s Pilgrimage Through The Gita, by Swami Muni Narayana Prasad; D.K. Printworld, New Delhi, 2005, 2008.
The Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata, A Bilingual Edition, translated by J.A.B. van Buitenen; The University of Chicago Press, 1981.
The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Winthrop Sargeant; State University of New York Press, 1994.
Abhinavagupta’s Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Gitartha Samgraha, translated by Boris Marjanovic; Indica Books, Varanasi, 2002, 2004.
The Betrayal of Krishna, Vicissitudes of a Great Myth
Krishna Chaitanya/K.K. Nair
Clarion Books, 1991, New Delhi
The Mahabharata, A Literary Study, by Krishna Chaitanya [K.K. Nair]; Clarion Books, Delhi, 1985, 1993.
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