Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gita: Chapter 7:Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge and Wisdom

The previous chapter not only gave us the technique of Self-realisation through the methods of concentration and meditation, but also concluded with Krishna's own personal opinion upon who exactly was the noblest among the different seekers pursuing the different "path." According to the Lord of Vrindavana, a meditator who tries to concentrate his mind upon the Self is superior to those who strive to deny all sense enjoyment to this body (Tapaswins), or to those who make deep and learned investigations into the scriptural literature (Jnanis), or to those who have dedicated themselves to selfless service of the society (Karmis). The Flute-bearer has again tried to express his opinion as to who, among the meditators, is the most noble. It was declared in the concluding stanza of the previous chapter that of all the meditators, the one who has successfully merged his mind in the nature of the Pure Consciousness, through the path of single-pointed meditation, is the highest seeker, and the dearest to the Lord.

Naturally, there would be a possible doubt, in the mind of Arjuna, as to how a limited and mortal mind-and-intellect of a finite creature could ever embrace and comprehend the entire limitless Infinite. In order to remove this doubt, Krishna opens this particular chapter, with a promise that he would explain to Arjuna the entire science, both in its theoretical and speculative aspects, and clear all his possible doubts on the subject. Indeed, for exhaustiveness in treatment and thoroughness in exposition there is, perhaps, no other religious textbook that can stand a favourable comparison with the Geeta. In this sense of the term, we should appreciate the Geeta, not only as a textbook of our philosophy, but also as a literary masterpiece of beauty and erudition in the world's literature.
Here is the translation of the slokas of the 7th Chapter of Gita:

The Blessed Lord said: 1. With the mind intent on Me, Partha, practising YOGA and taking refuge in Me, how thou shalt, without doubt, know Me fully, that do thou hear.
2. I shall declare to thee in full this knowledge combined with realisation, which being known, nothing more here remains to be known.

3. Among thousands of men, one perchance strives, for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows Me in essence.

4. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect, egoism --- these are My eight-fold PRAKRITI.

5. This is the "lower" PRAKRITI; different from it, know thou, O mighty-armed, My "Higher' ' PRAKRITI , the very Life-element, by which this world is upheld.

6. Know that these (two PRAKRITIS ) , are the womb of all beings. So I am the source and dissolution of the whole universe.

7. There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, O Dhananjaya. All this is strung in Me, as clusters of gems on a string.

8. I am the sapidity in water, O son of Kunti, I am the light in the moon and the sun; I am the syllable OM in all the VEDAS, sound in ether, and virility in men;

9. I am the sweet fragrance in earth and the brilliance in fire, the life in all beings, and I am austerity in the austere.

10. Know Me, O Partha, as the eternal seed of all beings; I am the intelligence of the intelligent. The splendour of the splendid (things and beings) , am I.

11. Of the strong, I am the strength --- devoid of desire and attachment, and in (all) beings, I am the desire --- unopposed to DHARMA, O best among the Bharatas.

12. Whatever beings (and objects) that are pure, active and inert, know them to proceed from Me; yet, I am not in them, they are in Me.

13. Deluded by these natures (states or things) composed of the three GUNAS (of PRAKRITI ) all the world knows Me not as Immutable and distinct from them.

14. Verily, this divine illusion of Mine, made up of GUNAS (caused by the qualities) is difficult to cross over; those who take refuge in Me, they alone cross over this illusion.

15 The evil-doers, the deluded, the lowest of men, do not seek Me; they, whose discrimination has been destroyed by their own delusions, follow the ways of the demons.

16. Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna, the dissatisfied, the seeker of (systematised) knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O best among the Bharatas.

17. Of them the wise, ever steadfast and devoted to the One, excels; for, I am exceedingly dear to the wise, and he is dear to Me.

18. Noble indeed are all these, but the wise man, I deem, as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind he is established in Me alone as the Supreme Goal.

19. At the end of many births the wise man comes to Me, realising that all this is Vasudeva (the innermost Self) ; such a great soul (MAHATMA) is very hard to find.

20. Those whose wisdom has been looted away by this or that desire, go to other gods, following this or that rite, led by their own nature.

21. Whatsoever form any devotee desires to worship with faith --- that (same) faith of his I make (firm and) unflinching.

22. Endued with that faith, he engages in the worship of that 'DEVATA' and from it he obtains his desire-fulfilments; all these being ordained, indeed, by Me (alone) .

23. Verily the "fruit" that accrues to those men of little-intelligence is finite. The worshippers of the DEVAS go to the DEVAS but My devotees come to Me.

24. The foolish think of Me, the Unmanifest, as having come to manifestation, not knowing My higher, immutable and peerless nature.

25. I am not manifest to all (in My Real Nature) veiled by Divine- 'MAYA. ' This deluded world knows not Me, the Unborn, the Imperishable.

26. I know, O Arjuna, the beings of the past, and present and the future, but no one knows Me.

27. By the delusion of the pairs-of-opposites arising from desire and aversion, O Bharata, all beings are subject to delusion at birth, O Parantapa (scorcher of foes) .

28. But those men of virtuous deeds whose sins have come to an end, who are freed from the delusion of the pairs-of-opposites and steadfast in vows, worship Me.

29. Those who strive for liberation from old age and death, taking refuge in Me --- They realise in full that BRAHMAN, the whole knowledge of the Self and all action.

30. Those who know Me with the ADHIBHUTA (pertaining to elements; the world-of-objects) , ADHIDAIVA (pertaining to the gods; the sense-organs) and the ADHIYAJNA (pertaining to the sacrifice; all perceptions) , even at the time of death, steadfast in mind, know Me.

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