What Caused Ishvara? And How To ‘See' God in All People/Objects? (58)
What Caused Ishvara (God)? And How To See Divinity in All People/Objects? (58)

Summary:

Lesson 58 finishes with final physical stage of creation. Then explains that Ishvara is not caused by anything. Ishvara is beginningless. Thereafter we are shown how to recognize Ishvara (God) everywhere – and not by mere belief. What will such vision do for us? Cultivates wisest human trait, humility, which sustains our peace amidst life's thorns. And jealously instantly falls away, meaning the worst mental disease is destroyed.

Source: Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7 – verse 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


REVISION:

  • Topic is Īśvara svarūpam (nature of ultimate cause of creation).
  • Īśvara defined cause of universe (jagat kāraṇam). Cause means BOTH intelligent & material. Meaning this manifest universe is none other then Īśvara. And when one LEARNS to look at world a manifestation of Īśvara, such vision called: visvarūpa darṣanam (to see God in all forms. Title of CH11.)
    • Visvarūpa requires understanding of teaching (viveka/vairyāgyam) AND inner maturity to learn to look the very world as Īśvara's manifestation.
  • Until we study middle portion, our assumption being: Īśvara is a person and Īśvara darṣanam is about coming in contact with a personal God.
    • Krishna wants to remove this idea from our mind and present that very creation is Īśvara. He is preparing our mind, so by chapter CH11 (Vision of Cosmic Person), we do NOT ASK for arrival of God. But understand God has already ARRIVED in form of 5 elements.
    • Therefore 2 things are being asked of student: (1) UNDERSTAND Īśvara (2) REORIENT mind to see very world AS Īśvara.
  • Otherwise to see Īśvara as person is: eka rūpa īśvaraḥ (personal God in ONE form).
    • Krishna is asking us to change VIEW to: aneka rūpa īśvaraḥ (God as ALL forms). In fact entire B.Gītā is aiming at: aneka / visvarūpa īśvara darśanam.
      • Why is he asking us this change? Because eka/personal God is subject to arrival/departure. Happiness when perceived. Unhappiness upon separation. However with aneka/visvarūpa, no question of disappearance. Īśvara always IS. Peace.
  • How does Īśvara evolve into the universe? TWO stages.
    • Stage 1: ONE parā (Reflected Consciousness principle), ONE aparā-prakṛti (inert matter principle).
    • Stage 2: Intermediary stage: ONE aparā DIVIDES into 8-fold (makes up gross/subtle world. Unmanifested matter. All jīvas, minds, intellects, aham kāra, saṃskāras). While parā continues ONE and SAME.
    • Stage 3: Final: 8-fold aparā > becomes manifold creation. While parā-prakṛti continues ONE and SAME.
      • All the while, Īśvara NEVER undergoes any changes. EG: Cotton not changed to become shirt. Thus Īśvara pervades & is beyond creation.
  • Therefore wherever you see changing matter at any time, appreciate it as aparā-prakṛti of Īśvara.
    • And what is parā-prakṛti? THAT because of which you are AWARE of aparā experiences. Invisible CHANGELESS awareness principle.
  • Krishna also says whatever is OTHER THEN parā/aparā, belongs to YOUR avidyā.
    • Meaning nothing is left, except aham kāra.
      • Separate “I” who agrees with parā/aparā, EXCEPT does NOT put itself under EITHER.
      • Thus there is: parā/aparā AND aham kāra (3rd witness yet to surrender ITSELF to both).
    • Gītā also helps us remove this FINAL avidyā trace (I-ness). AFTER removal final understanding is: There is neither shirt nor sleeves. Cotton alone IS.
      • There is neither jīva nor jagat. Īśvara alone IS. Hence: jīva/jagat are products/effects of their CAUSE.
      • World is a product. Remove “l” = WORD. A mere name/form without substance.

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7 – Verse 6:

etadyonīni bhūtāni sarvāṇītyupadhāraya |
ahaṃ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayastathā ||

Ascertain that all things and beings have these two prakritis as their material cause. (Therefore) I am the source as well as the ground of dissolution of this entire universe.

 

  • Krishna talks CONVERSION of intermediary stage > final cosmos. In verse 4/5, talked about intermediary/plant stage (1x parā, 8x aparā).
  • From the plant stage, a huge tree of cosmos comes. Consists of (A) gross elements and (B) elementals.
    • Gross elements (bhūtam): Physical 5 elements.
    • Elementals (bhautikam): Products formed by combinations of physical 5 elements.
      • EG 1: Earth + Water = Clay/Mud. Dried with Air = functional product; cup.
      • EG 2: Body is basically:
        • Refined MUD. Mostly WATER and rest is food (EARTH).
        • Fire: Including fire (heat). EG: Preserves heat despite cold.
        • Air: Inside blood.
        • Space: Stomach
      • EG 3: Hydrogen (Air) + Fire = Dihydrogen oxide (Water)
    • How do we convert subtle (S2: subtle 5 elements) to gross (S3: gross 5 elements)?
      • EG: Gas (subtle form) > Condensation (C) > Liquid (gross form).
        • Gas: Compared to Stage 2: Subtle Air
        • Liquid: Compared to Stage 3: Gross Air
        • Condensation: Thought. EG: Some can make their bodies hot/cold just by thought.
          • Subtle Thought > Gross manifestation in body.
  • etadhyonīni bhūtāni sarvāṇī: All things/beings, from smallest mirco-organism to most evolved human body, has it’s cause in Me (parā/aparā prakṛti OR nirguṇa saguṇa Īśvara).
    • So parā/aparā mixture alone is source of entire creation. Mixture called Īśvara (God).
    • Meaning Īśvara has EVOLVED in form of this creation (without undergoing changes).
      • So Krishna is redefining our concept of God.
        • EG: God is powerful person LOCATED beyond clouds. Keeps creating and dumping down. This IDEA is beginning stage and valid. Why? Because impure mind can NOT appreciate Īśvara in true nature.
      • Therefore śāstra introduce Īśvara in 3 levels:
        1. Īśvara = person. (Since humans relate most to people.)
        2. Īśvara = ENTIRE universe wherever you look. (parā/aparā OR nirguṇa saguṇa)
        3. Īśvara = nirguṇa caitanyam (Brahman). Property-less consciousness. Abstract Truth. Few people can appreciate #3, therefore it’s never presented at start.
    • SUMMARY: LEARN to look at everything as My own manifestation. PRACTICE!
  • Therefore sarvāṇī iti upadhāraya, assert/digest that whole UNIVERSE evolves out of Me, and rests in Me.
    • Then what is fate of the UNIVERSE?
      • Scientists postulate big-bang > big-crunch. Singularity. Then again expand.
      • According to scriptures, evolution of jagat will be REVERSED.
        • Meaning: Sṛṣṭi (creation) & sthiti (preservation) > pralaya (dissolution) goes back to 1x parā/aparā.
      • Related CH2.28: Everything goes back to unmanifest condition. From Unmanifest comes manifestation.
    • Sample of mini creation-dissolution:
      • Moment we wake up in morning, ALL our dormant actions/thoughts EVOLVE out of us.
        • Person (puruṣa) continues from yesterday (last creation). Today = new creation.
      • During deep SLEEP, everything withdrawn into ourselves. But not permanently.
        • Next morning, the withdrawn potential… CONVERTS into actions/thoughts.
        • For actions/thoughts to express, we need a FIELD supplied.
          • Who supplies the field? Īśvara (Parā/aparā).
      • Waking/sleep is CYCLIC. Thus can’t ask “When did it all start?”
        • Cycle has no beginning/end. It’s eternal (anādi). Cycle will not end.
      • Only way to GET OUT of cycle is mokṣa. EG: Merry-go-around has no off-button. After few fun rounds, get SICK. How to come out? Only way, deliberately jump off.
  • 2nd line: ahaṃ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayastathā: I am origin of entire universe. Resolution ground AND graveyard of this creation. I throw out and I resolve.
    • Scripture compares this to OUR projection of dream universe…
      • Out of your mind spontaneously EMERGES vast dream world. Many loka/creations.
      • Time/space also generated out of mind. Different time from waking. Scientists estimate dream lasts 1-½ min. Measure by REM.
        • So ½ min: school, married, children, grandchildren.
      • Who created dream time/space/objects? My mind. When wake up, I SWALLOW the whole thing.
        • Thus I AM creation (Sṛṣṭi) / preservation (sthiti) / dissolution (laya) CAUSE (kāraṇam) of my dream Universe.
    • Similarly Īśvara is Sṛṣṭi / sthiti / laya kāraṇam of WHOLE COSMOS.

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7 – Verse 7:

mattaḥ parātaraṃ nānyat kiñcidasti dhanañjaya |
mayi sarvamidaṃ protaṃ sūtre maṇigaṇā iva ||

Oh, Arjuna, there is no other cause at all apart from Me. All this is strung in Me like beads in a string.

 

  • Normally we observe ONE law. Every CAUSE got it’s own CAUSE.
    • EG: Child is a PRODUCT/effect of parent’s CAUSE. But parents ALSO have cause, in reference to their parents. So parents become EFFECT.
  • Provokes question: Who is CAUSE of Īśvara?
    • Krishna says: I am parent-less parent of this creation. Causeless-cause. Nothing caused Me. I am never an EFFECT of anything.
      • Reason why parā/aparā are beginingless. Nothing caused them. Nothing caused Īśvara.
  • Therefore, mattaḥ parataram nānyat kiñcidasti: There is no other cause for Me. I am the ULTIMATE cause. I am the ABSOLUTE cause of creation.
  • To explain 2nd line: Īśvara is material cause of creation. Meaning material cause is inherent in all PRODUCTS/EFFECTS.
    • EG 1: All earth-ware pots exist because of clay. Clay inheres all beautiful/ugly, rich/poor pots.
    • EG 2: Ornaments exist only because of inherent gold. Remove gold, no ornaments.
    • EG 3: Remove wood, no furniture.
  • So Krishna will say: I am inherent cause because of which whole world is HELD TOGETHER. He gives eg: Māla has inherent thread keeping it’s beads together.
    • When look at māla, beads are visible.
    • But you ALSO KNOW within visible beads, there is an invisible thread (sūtram). Because of thread, māla IS. No thread, no māla.
  • Therefore, sūtre maṇigaṇā iva: Just as beads are threaded together by string… similarly WHOLE UNIVERSE (laws, orders, matter) is threaded together because of UNSEEN string called Īśvara (parā: string | aparā: beads).
    • Value of necklace/beads easily appreciated. But thread value, rarely!
    • So if asked “Where is God?”… how to answer? Counter question “Where is He NOT?”

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7 – Verse 8:

raso'hamapsu kaunteya prabhā'smi śaśisūryayoḥ |
praṇavaḥ sarvavedeṣu śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṃ nṛṣu ||

Oh! Arjuna, I am the taste in water. I am the radiance in the moon and sun; I am the Omkara in all the Vēdās; (I am) the sound in space; (I am) the manliness in men.

 

  • Krishna asking for attitude change, based on our new understandings. For example…
    • We love and have reverential feelings for parents because we KNOW what they have done for us.
      • So proportion of my knowledge of their sacrifices, I DEVELOP attitude of reverence.
      • Same case with any person.
        • When meet unknown person, attitude is NEUTRAL. Neither rāga/dveṣa.
        • After come to discover their values, sacrifices, read biography… we DEVELOP knowledge about them… we develop reverence/admiration.
  • In same way, proportional to understanding world, my attitude changes towards it.
    • For example, when see world as world, attitude is: rāga/dveṣa. Persecutes. Fear. Disturbs.
    • However when understand world as visvarūpa (many manifestations of God), then attitude is of reverence.
      • EG: Rudram supposed to be most potent prayer. What is it? Expressing visvarūpa darśanam.
        • EG 1: One does namaskāra to Lord Śiva, who is in form of mud.
        • EG 2: One does namaskāra to Sun, which is not matter alone. It is aparā-prakṛti (Īśvara).
  • How to apply in daily life?
    • Knowledge can be gathered immediately. But attitudinal change takes time. EG: Eating immediate, digestion (most important) for hours.
    • Similarly, student has 2 fold job:
      1. Understanding teaching (knowledge).
      2. Deliberately bringing about attitudinal / perspective change. Divinisation of world.
    • Conclusion:
      • See world as world = UNREST/saṃsāra. But SAME world seen as Īśvara = no saṃsāra.
      • 1st verse Īśa Upaniṣad: Īśāvāsyam idagum sarvam: Learn to see world as Īśvara svarūpa.
  • How does Krishna tells us to change attitude? 1st line: raso'hamapsu kaunteya prabhā'smi śaśisūryayoḥ
    • Arjuna, when drink water, do not look as JUST water. But essence of water (keeping your BMI alive) is essence of Me (Īśvara). This applies to everything. Ultimate goal in life is looking everything as God.
    • I am LIGHT, radiance, brilliance in the sun & moon.
      • Light of sun is worshipped in Gāyatri, considered pinnacle of all Vedas.
        • Symbolizes conscious principle (para-prakriti). THAT which makes inert brain into a live KNOWING instrument. Therefore see sunlight as Bhagavān also.
  • praṇavaḥ sarva vedeṣu: I am praṇava. The sacred OM/omkāra (3 states) – considered essence of all Vedas.
    • OM is like condensed Juice. When diluted = each page of Vedas.
    • OM is Īśvara also.
  • śabdaḥ khe: I am essence of all pervading space, which makes sound possible. Both I am.
  • pauruṣaṃ nṛṣu: Humanness in every human being. To claim “I am a human being”, that privilege is possible because of Ishvara.

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7 – Verse 9:

puṇyo gandhaḥ pṛthivyāṃ ca tejaścāsmi vibhāvasau |
jīvanaṃ sarvabhūteṣu tapaścāsmi tapasviṣu ||

O Arjuna! Moreover I am the fragrance in earth; I am the heat in fire: I am the life in all beings and I am the austerity in ascetics.

 

  • Puṇyaḥ gandhaḥ pṛthivyām: Essential nature of earth is fragrance/smell. I am THAT also. Can smell after fresh rain on mud
  • Tejaścāsmi vibhāvasau:
    • tejaḥ: heat principle in fire.
    • Even without form/color, heat is felt. Sun, hot water, kettle. I am that HEAT.
  • jīvanaṃ sarvabhūteṣu: I AM life principle, because of which a living being is LIVING. Without which, it is dead corpse.
    • Reason why basic principle in Vedic tradition is – respect all life.
    • Opposed to some religions: Other living beings meant for one purpose: CONSUMPTION. Animals/plants = no soul. God created them for human consumption.
    • Every plant/animal/human has life: ātma tattvam
  • tapaścāsmi tapasviṣu:
    • Amongst human beings, some are more evolved. Called ascetics. Because of their tapas (disciplines), perseverance, commitment… they have accomplished something (material/spiritual).
      • I AM those tapas (disciplines) which produced accomplishment.
      • I am saintliness in saintly people.
  • SUMMARY: Learn to look all 5 elements (make up the world) as Īśvara manifestation. Results? PRODUCES attitude change.

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7 – Verse 10:

bījaṃ māṃ sarvabhūtānāṃ viddhi pārtha sanātanam |
buddhirbuddhimatāmasmi tejastejasvināmaham ||

Oh! Arjuna, Know Me to be the eternal seed of all beings. I am the intelligence of the intelligent. I am the boldness of the bold.

 

  • 2nd line: buddhiḥ buddhi matām asmi: I am intelligence principle BEHIND intelligent people.
    • Some folks have extra-ordinary intelligence, and enjoy glorifying their cleverness… THAT Intelligence, I AM.
      • Meaning because of My blessing alone, intelligent people are enjoying the intelligence.
  • Similarly, asmi tejastejasvinām: I am boldness in bold. Valour in valorous.
    • Boldness? Capacity which person is able to overcome obstacles (human/non-human).
    • Some people withdrawn upon slightest confrontation/challenge. While others have capacity to conquer and move forward. That capacity, I AM.
  • What is BENEFIT of changing my attitude per 7.8-10?
    • First understand: Nature of everything is Īśvara.
      • Meaning any virtues like boldness, intelligence, austerity, knowledge… DO NOT belong to me. But are manifestation of their CAUSE. So credit does NOT go to me, but Lord. This means the more one appreciates Īśvara… more HUMBLE one becomes.
      • What does humbleness do? Establishes peace. Antidote to annoyances. Conqueror of rāga/dveṣa slavery. Cure for saṃsāra.
      • How does humility come?
        1. Born of knowledge. Stays.
        2. Without understanding = flattery. Fake. Reinforces saṃsāra. EG: Some salesman/waitress/politician who show fake humility for future agenda, as Duryodhana did. (NOTE: We’re not referring to all of course.)
      • Example HOW humility comes:
        • In Kena Upaniṣad, there is story of Devās who become arrogant over their victory of asurās. Bhagavān comes in form of mysterious yakṣa (spirit). To discover who yakṣa was, Bhagavān places blade of grass, infront of Devās.
        • Agni-devata (God of fire) told to burn it. Couldn’t burn it. Recognized it’s heat principle is Bhagavān’s glory.
        • Vāyu-devata (God of Air) told to blow. Failed.
        • Thus the devās realized their power is not theirs. They become humble.
      • CONCLUSION: IF get any degree, honour, compliment, reward… better remember Īśvara. Place it front of Lord.
        • Īśvara understanding gives true humility.
        • Ignorance of Īśvara leads to arrogance.
  • SECOND advantage besides humility is:
    • When SEE glory of Īśvara in any person, NEVER again become JEALOUS.
    • When does jealousy come?
      • COMPARING my glory (which is NOT mine), to another person’s glory. EG: “Society is glorifying that person more then me! He has more appreciation, love, respect, skills!”
    • Therefore when I appreciate God, I can never experience jealousy. Because all glories belong to ONE Cause.
      • EG: If we both sing well, we won’t compare. Because both capacities belong to one Īśvara.
      • We have NO GLORY of our own. For example, story of the jealous pipe…
        • One is thin. Another thick. Thin pipe is JEALOUS how thicker can handle more water (blessings). Thicker is PROUD.
        • Pipe ācāryah says: Water you fight over belongs to one same water tank! Water is not yours.
        • Similarly, humans are like pipes. And all glories traveling THROUGH us, belongs to one same Īśvara.
        • Therefore learn to congratulate when see glories of others.
  • BENEFIT SUMMARY of Īśvara jñānam: Humility (leads to undisturbed peace in challenges) / Non-jealousy (appreciating others).
  • 1st line: bījam mām sarvabhūtānāṃ viddhi pārtha sanātanam:
    • Bījam: seed, ultimate/absolute cause. For clarity, there are 2 definitions of causes:
      1. Intermediary/relative cause:
        • Parent is cause of son. But not ultimate cause, because parent too is caused by another cause.
        • Īśvara is NOT this category: āpekṣika kāraṇam
      2. Ultimate/Absolute Cause:
        • Cause of everything. But which is not caused by anyone. Causeless cause.
        • Thus Īśvara is parentless parent. Fatherless father. Motherless mother of creation.
    • Meaning, Īśvara does not have a beginning.
      • Krishna mentions because knows question will be asked “What is cause of God?”. I AM the eternal causeless cause of creation.

 

Keywords: acarya, aham kara, ahamkara, aneka rupa, apara-prakriti, avidya, bhagavan, bhuta, darsana, devesha, eka rupa, gayatri, ishvara, ishvara darshanam, karanam, namaskara, nirguna, omkara, para-prakriti, purusha, raga, saguna, samskaras, sanatanam, srishti, srsti, sthiti, svarupam , upanishad, vairagya, vayu devata, vishvarupa darshana, visvarupa darshana

 

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Chinmaya Int. Foundation, Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 16 July, 2019

 

2 Comments

  1. James on July 18, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Could you please clarify the statement that avidya is whatever is not part of paraprakrti/aparaprakrti which is ahamkara. Last week you said that ahamkara was one of the 8-fold aparaprakrti in the 2nd stage of creation.

    • mm Andre V on July 18, 2019 at 10:24 pm

      Analogy: 10 men go on spiritual pilgrimage. All 10 cross river. To check if all made it, one person counts, and only finds 9 left. Next person counts, also 9 left. They all grieve 10th person who drowned in the river.

      Wise person comes and says “You fools, you each forgot to INCLUDE yourself as part of the WHOLE GROUP.”

      Meaning, each counter preserved their separate sense of “I” and forgot to surrender it to the WHOLE. Thus each counter had avidyā. It’s only when wise person told them “You forgot to count yourself”, they then were able to surrender their aham kāra to the WHOLE GROUP.

      In same way, one says “Everything is parā/aparā”. But the aham kāra saying it, still is NOT including itself into parā/aparā.

      The Gītā corrects this. So nothing to worry about.

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