Without Devotion/Bhakti, Reality is Shallow & Intellectual (105)


Lesson 105 logically shows how self-knowledge cannot be complete without devotion. Symbology of Father & Mother in scriptures. Why God can never be reached.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11: Verse 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47


  • Arjuna was overpowered by fear when seen Parameśvaraḥ as the mouth-time, swallowing dear ones.
    • So he asked “Lord, who are you? I thought you were the compassionate one, but now I see this destruction”.
  • Krishna answered: It’s not a question of Parameśvaraḥ having / not-having compassion. He is not an entity with personal likes/dislikes.
    • Mere presence of Bhagavān is maintenance of orders within the universe. How? Providing corresponding results for jīva’s Just as mere presence of an adult, causes children to remain orderly.
    • Hence God’s compassion is in form of dispensing karma phalam, matching exactly what each person does”.
    • Reference to you, one way to see karma phalam is an exhaustion mechanics. Just as happy experience (puṇya) is exhausted, so is sorrowful one (pāpa). So it’s a purification process”.
      • Just as when doctor gives unpleasant syrup, it’s meant to purify the gross body.
    • Meaning, we can pray to receive change in perspective to maturely see unpleasant situations, rather then using prayer to erase unpleasant events in potential (because prārabdha can’t be stopped).
      • Prayer: “May I have the strength to embrace undesirable events which can’t be changed, and learn from them, so I become a wiser human being.”
    • If don’t embrace prārabdha (results of past actions), then we complain “What have I done to deserve this!”.
      • Reality is, we don’t remember what we did 8 years ago, let alone in past lives.
      • This is why even Yuddhisthira (embodiment of dharma), was ongoingly confronted with unpleasant experiences. Meaning number of pāpams are incurable.
  • Conclusion: When we see there’s no injustice in the world (even if it seems cheaters are getting their way), then fear of future transforms into devotion of present (bhakti).
  • Revision of Time:
    • Time is not separate from any object in the universe. Because very existence of an object/thought implies duration (which is time). But also occupies space. Thus time-space-objects are inseparable.
      • It’s also impossible to ask “When was time created?”. That means whoever created time, was Himself in time.
        • EG: God created time at 8:00pm. Then what was there at 7:59pm?
        • Therefore, time was never created. It always existed.
          • And since time-space-universe are inseparable, it means, everything already exists (potential/manifest).
    • So entire universe is time-space-forms and Orders-Laws which govern the relationship between each other. EG:
      • Physical laws: Water boils WHEN reaches a certain temperature.
      • Law of Dharma (moral law): Music/orchestra of manifestation.
  • What does this understanding mean to us in practical living?
    • Because we are surrounded by time-space-forms-laws (not separate from God), there’s no question of asking “Can I have darśanam of God?”. We are never not having vision of Bhagavān.
    • And the moment person understands universe is not away from God, that’s called bhakti (mature mind).
      • “I am not experiencing anything other then Īśvara.”
      • That’s why Arjuna realizing this through divya-cakṣuḥ, he is overwhelmed with devotion.
  • We’ve also seen “Arjuna is NOT essential for Karṇa/Bhīṣma/Droṇa/Duryodhana to die by his arrows”.
    • They are already dead by mere fact of their past irresponsibility.
    • Arjuna just happens to be in position of having to carry out their inevitable fate. Because he is kṣatriya.
      • Conflict comes when duties come to us specifically, and we color them with our likes/dislikes.
        • EG: If murderer walked into court, and judge can’t send him to prison because murderer is his own son, then judge will incur pāpam.
  • So what does this mean in context of “Be an instrument of what is MEANT to happen?”.
    • Asses the situation, and act accordingly. Called svadharma (responding intelligently to present situations).
      • EG: In Rāmāyaṇa, Monkeys carried huge rocks to Ravaṇa’s distant land over the ocean. Squirrels carried pebbles. Made them feel fulfilled for being an instrument of Lord’s work.


Arjuna praises Krishna and seeks forgiveness: Verse 36-44:

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 36

sthāne hṛṣīkeśa tava prakīrtyā | jagat prahṛṣyati anurajyate ca
rakṣāṃsi bhītāni diśaḥ dravanti | sarve namasyanti ca siddha-saṅghāḥ
Arjuna said – Oh Lord! It is but proper that the world is delighted and gratified by the glorification of You. The frightened demons run in all directions and all the hosts of Siddhas bow down (to You).

  • Arjuna’s viśva-rūpa experience so far consisted of: wonderment and fear. Now 3rd stage is surrender.
    • What is surrender? Owning up to what is true, One all-knowledge-power, is appearing as many. This is essence of viśva-rūpa appreciation, which is the only way to know oneself as Brahman.
      • Because Consciousness (Brahman) can only be known by understanding that no name-form is away from Consciousness.
      • That’s why Vedanta doesn’t deny empirical world of mithyā, because whole life is only mithyā names-forms.
        • Meaning if there is discomfort or non-acceptance of world, while saying “aham brahman asmi”, the understanding is still dominated by likes/dislikes.
  • Hence Arjuna says:
    • “Krishna, I comprehend why mahātmās are devotional in nature, because their mind recognizes presence of Īśvara in all names-forms. “
      • Thus it’s one’s devotional attitude that reveals their understanding of Oneness. Not their knowledge alone.
    • “I also comprehend how distorted notions of reality produce anxiety OR need to continue the search.”
      • Because such mind attributes absolute reality to all objects, thus everything becomes important. Person becomes busy attending to ever changing phenomena.
  • rakṣāṃsi: minds with false notions of reality, are fearful of dharma. Because it threatens one’s should’s and shouldn’ts.
    • Such people live by attempting to modify the world to suit one’s comfort zone.
    • EG: They’re afraid or rebel against police. Fear of police can only come if holding memory of a past unethical act.
    • In same way, Prameśvaraḥ (dharma rāja), becomes source of fear/anxiety. That’s why word “God” brings so much emotional investment for argument.
  • diśaḥ dravanti: How do jīvas with distorted notions escape dharma (Lord)?
    • Running away. Whether by distraction, constant achievement, keeping oneself busy, or physical activity.
  • siddha-saṅghāḥ sarve namasyanti: Those who embrace dharma, helplessly express it by means of:
    • Praising Your glories through devotion / scriptures.
    • They also pray to boost courage to maturely handle difficult events in future (job, death, sickness) – which can’t be changed.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 37

kasmāt ca te na nameran mahātman | garīyase brahmaṇaḥ api ādi-kartre
ananta deveśa jagat nivāsa | tvam akṣaram sat asat tat paraṃ yat
Oh! great Lord, why would they not salute (You) who are greater than even Brahma (and who is) the first creator? Oh limitless one who is the ruler of Gods, (and) the abode of the Universe! (You are) the cause and effect. (Also) you are that imperishable Truth, which is beyond (both).

  • “Krishna, bhakti is instinctive for those who recognize presence of all-knowledge-power in all names-forms.”
    • EG: Look at science, biology, astronomy. It induces wonder.
    • What is difference between Scientist in Wonder and Viśva-rūpa Bhakta in Wonder?
      • Scientist’s wonder stops at names-forms.
      • Bhakta’s wonder continues as ever-growing devotion. This cultivates humility and calmness of mind.
    • Furthermore, whoever doesn’t appreciate your glory in the world, isn’t because you don’t exist, but because sensitivity of mind isn’t tuned yet.
      • Just like sensitivity of child’s mind isn’t tuned yet to appreciate music (it’s mere sounds).
      • Be disappointed not in those whose vision isn’t tuned. Some are slower, some faster.
  • garīyase brahmaṇaḥ api ādi-kartre: You are creator of even Brahmāji (sitting on lotus), born from Viṣṇu’s navel (puranic approach).
    • Vedāntic approach:
      • Viṣṇu is Macrocomic Causal Body (Total saṃskārās / sañcita karma).
      • Brahmāji is Macrocosmic Subtle Body (Total Mind/Knowledge).
      • Therefore, Subtle body is born out of Causal body.
  • jagat nivāsa: You don’t live in the universe, but the universe lives in You, O Krishna.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 38

tvam ādidevaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ  |tvam asya viśvasya param nidhānam
vettā asi vedyam ca param ca dhāma | tvayā tatam viśvam ananta-rūpa
You are the primal God, the ancient Purusha, you are the supreme ground of dissolution of this Universe. You are the knower, the known as well as the abode which is beyond (both). The Universe is pervaded by You, Oh ! Lord with endless forms !

  • You are the beginningless first, which everything else depends on for it’s existence.
  • You are puruṣaḥ, which has two meanings:
    • One who is all-pervading: Īśvara.
    • One who resides in the body: Sūkṣma-śairīra. Jīva. Mind.
  • tvam asya viśvasya param nidhānam: You are the ultimate ground into which universe resolves.
    • Meaning at time of pralayam, all living beings are resolved into Earth.
      • Thus Earth becomes resolving ground for: humans, insects, animals, plants.
    • Earth resolves into Water (5 elements) > Fire > Air > Space > Time > Īśvara > māyā > Brahman.
  • vettā asi vedyam: You are the knower of everything.
    • Meaning:
      • All-knowledge (of all laws-orders, time-space-objects). Īśvara.
      • Presence in whose presence All-knowledge is known, Awareness (Brahman).
    • You are the knowledge-principle of:
      • Subject and object.
        • Enjoyer and enjoyed.
        • Experiencer and experienced.
        • Sentient and inert.
      • Meaning their individual function/form borrows from Īśvara’s limitless knowledge.
  • paraṁ ca dhāma, tvayā tatam viśvam ananta-rūpa: You are the content of both, subject and object.
    • Just as the dreamer is the content of both the subject in the dream and the infinite objects.
    • In this way, infinite universe is pervaded by Your presence.
      • And this presence is known to all jīvas as self-evident “I AM”.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 39

vāyuḥ yamaḥ agniḥ varuṇaḥ śaśāṅkaḥ | prajāpatiḥ tvam prapitāmahaḥ ca
namaḥ namaḥ te astu sahasra-kṛtvaḥ | punaḥ ca bhūyaḥ api namaḥ namaḥ te
You are vāyuḥ, agniḥ, yamaḥ, varuṇaḥ, śaśāṅkaḥ, the moon, prajāpatiḥ, and the great grandfather. A thousand fold salutations be to you; salutation be to You again and again.

  • You are the wind/air, yamaḥ (generous principle which removes old to give way to new: Lord of Death), fire, water, moon.
    • Logic behind this is: All these are effects/products within Manifest universe.
      • And no effect/product is every separate from Cause. EG: Pot (effect) is never separate from Clay (cause).
      • In same way, jīva’s mind (effect) is never separate from Cause (Īśvara).
  • namaḥ namaḥ te astu sahasra-kṛtvaḥ: Knowing all this, I offer my namaskāra 1000’s of times because all nāma-rūpas are sustained by the One Cause.
    • Without Parameśvaraḥ, no object can enjoy it’s existence.
    • Nothing is outside Him.
    • The One Cause is in-and-through everything, in past, present, and future.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 40

namaḥ purastāt atha pṛṣṭhataḥ te | namaḥ astu te sarvataḥ eva sarva
ananta-vīrya-amita-vikramaḥ tvam | sarvam samāpnoṣi tataḥ asi sarvaḥ

Salutation (to You) in front and (salutation) to you behind. Salutation be to You all around. Oh Lord! You are of limitless power and infinite courage. You pervade everything (and) hence, You are everything.

  • Arjuna expresses his reverentially towards the 5 elements, from which universe is made.
  • ananta-vīrya-amita-vikramaḥ tvam: Bhagavān, your nature is infinite strength/power.
    • Any power (mental/physical) enjoyed by any jīva, belongs to Lord’s infinite power.
    • Just as power in human body borrowed from food > sun > existence of hydrogen converting into helium, causing a fusion reaction > borrows from cause-effect order > all-knowledge-power > Consciousness.
  • sarvam samāpnoṣi: Since everything already is the One reality, the notion of travelling somewhere to reach God, is meaningless. EG:
    • While alive, we start out with notion that we need to reach God (meditation, practice).
    • After death, we need to travel to reach God.
    • Whereas CH11, this travelling notion is weakened/removed. No question of reaching God. Nothing is away from the Total, which I am not apart from.
      • Then why scriptures speak of “Reaching God”?
        • It means, dropping the notion that I must reach Him. Because your birth, growth and death… are all in lap of Bhagavān.
          • For instance, how far does wave need to travel to reach ocean? Zero!
        • Hence the “notion of travelling to reach”, is neither a time distance NOR a space distance.
          • What kind of distance is it? A notional distance between my understand of reality AND The Reality.
          • Meaning, it’s a notion born out of ignorance.
            • EG: if it’s a space notion, I have to travel. If time notion, I have to wait.
            • Meaning, if jīva continues doing X, then one day in future, I will know The Reality.
      • How to remove this notional-ignorance-distance? Through knowledge. Gītā.
  • tataḥ asi sarvaḥ: You are everything.
    • Stage 1 understanding: Clay pervades all pots.
    • Stage 2 understanding: The One Clay is in form of all pots.
    • Similarly, there’s subtle difference in saying:
      • Everything is God.
      • God is everything.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 41

sakhā iti matvā prasabham yat uktam | he kṛṣṇa he yādava he sakhā iti
ajānatā mahimānam tava idam | mayā pramādāt praṇayena vā api
Regarding You as my friend, expressions like “Oh Krishna! Oh Yadava! Oh friend” etc. have been rudely, indifferently, or affectionately uttered by me who did not know this glory of yours.

  • Arjuna realizes Krishna is much more then just a friend whom Arjuna played pranks and occasionally insulted infront of friends, while they were growing up. So Arjuna wants to ask for forgiveness.
    • Even if Krishna say “I forgive”, it still won’t necessarily absolve Arjuna’s
  • Arjuna realizes his dealing with Krishna was inappropriate, impolite and didn’t give due credit.
    • Not because Arjuna was disrespectful, but because of ignorance of Krishna’s identity.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 42

yat ca avahāsārtham asat kṛtaḥ asi | vihāra-śayyā-āsana-bhojaneṣu
ekaḥ athavā api acyuta tat samakṣam | tat kṣāmaye tvām aham aprameyam
Moreover, for the sake of fun, You have been slighted by me, while playing, reclining, sitting, or eating, either in privacy or in public. Oh Krishna! For that I seek forgiveness from you, the incomprehensible one.

  • avahāsārtham, tat kṣāmaye tvām aham: For sake of fun, I have played silly pranks of You, while You were sleeping, us siting together, eating.
    • So please pardon me for such undue treatment, because you are aprameyam, the Highest of all.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 43

pitā asi lokasya cara-acarasya | tvam asya pūjyaḥ ca guruḥ garīyān
na tvat samaḥ asti abhyadhikaḥ kutaḥ anyaḥ | loka-traye api apratima-prabhāva
You are the father of this world, moving and stationary. You are the adorable one and the teacher who is superior to all. There is none equal to you. How can there be another one superior to you. Oh Lord, whose power is unmatched in all the three worlds?

  • pitā asi lokasya cara-acarasya: You are the father of the Whole. In Vedic tradition, father is never separate from mother. EG:
    • Brahman is father. Māyā is mother. Both are inseparable.
    • Viṣṇu is father. Who is always with Lakṣmi (in His chest).
    • Brahmāji keeps Sarasvati on His tongue.
    • Śiva is depicted as half/half.
    • Thus worshipping mother aspect of reality (meaning sentient/insentient objects), is also worshipping father. And vice-versa.
      • Reason why Neo-Advaita fails in long run. Because they dismiss mother, claiming only father alone (Awareness) is worthy of knowing. But to dismiss mother is to dismiss father.
  • For this reason, tvaṁ asya pūjyaḥ: You are the only One that’s worshipped, and the Highest worthy of worship.
    • According to śāstra, accepting namaskāra/worship has potential danger of spiritual downfall. Because boosts sense of individuality.
      • But since parents/teachers can’t stop namaskāra being give, solution is to quietly and immediately hand over to Bhagavān.
  • Why hand over namskāra to Lord? garīyān: Because He is the Highest guru. Superior to all relative guru’s. Logic:
    • All guru’s were students at some point.
      • EG: Adi Shankara was brilliant guru, only because learned from his guru, Govinda Bhagavatpada. Etc.
    • Entire lineage in any field of knowledge, is resolves into the first guruless guru, one who was never a student Himself, Īśvara.
  • na tvat samaḥ asti: No one is equal to You. Matchless, incomparable is Your nature, O Lord.
    • Because infinite can never be matched. There’s no second infinity.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 44

tasmāt praṇamya praṇidhāya kāyam | prasādaye tvām aham īśam īḍyam
pitā iva putrasya sakhā iva sakhyuḥ | priyaḥ priyāyāḥ arhasi deva soḍhum
Therefore, saluting and prostrating the body, I propitiate you, the adorable Lord. Oh Lord! You should forgive my offences just as a father forgives those of the son, just as a friend forgives those of the friend, and just as a husband forgives those of the wife.

  • Again, Arjuna feels guilty for belittling Krishna in past, not knowing implications of Avatāra. Consequently he offers not an ordinary joined-palms namaskāra, but falling prostrate/down.
  • Krishna, forgive my transgressions, just as:
    • Father forgives children’s mistakes because of their lack of discipline.
      • Today discipline much harder, due to mixture of cultures and internet.
    • Husband forgives his wife for her omissions/offences.
      • Applies pratipakṣa-bhāvanā: When object of resentment comes to mind’s attention, deliberately use will to think of thoughts, opposite to negative one’s that first came to mind.
    • Friend forgives offences of another friend.
      • Because he responds to the person, and not the action. Meaning, “I see the person behind the act”.
      • If respond to person’s behaviour/act, then it’s hard to be accommodative.
      • I attempt to see what is behind the foolishness / irrationality.
        • If can’t see, then keep in mind, there are many unknown reasons that set the stage of person’s actions.

Arjuna asks Krishna to return to his original jīva form…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 45

adṛṣṭa-pūrvam hṛṣitaḥ asmi dṛṣṭvā | bhayena ca pravyathitam manaḥ me
tat eva me darśaya deva rūpam | prasīda deveśa jagat-nivāsa
Seeing the universal form which has not been seen before, I am delighted. At the same time, my mind is afflicted with fear. Oh Lord! Show me that familiar form itself, Oh God of gods! Oh Lord!, who is the abode of the Universe ! Be gracious.

  • Arjuna is feeling two emotions simultaneously…
    • He feels blessed for being given divya cakṣuḥ directly by Bhagavān. Thus seeing glory of viśva-rūpa.
    • Experiencing discomfort by sight of the dear ones crushed in Lord’s mouth.
  • What does two emotions simultaneously imply?
    • Mind is not prepared. An unclear mind often has mixed feelings.
    • It’s like travelling to a new country. Temporarily seeing all people as “friendly”. Once honeymoon over, see same psychological behaviours, because you’ve also carried own likes/dislikes.
      • Meaning biases eventually override the innocent enjoyment of what-is.
  • Therefore the only way of holding the vision is through natural process of growth through self-inquiry into every thought.
  • prasīda deveśa jagat-nivāsa: Be gracious onto me Lord, the one in whom universe rests. My mind can no longer bear this mixed state, because it needs more work on itself.
    • Just as when Krishna ate some mud. Yaśoda (mother) scolded and asked Him to open mouth.
      • Inside she saw entire viśva-rūpa cosoms. Quickly she commanded Him to close mouth (out of fear).

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 46

kirīṭinam gadinam cakra-hastam | icchāmi tvām draṣṭum aham tathā eva
tena eva rūpeṇa catuḥ-bhujena | sahasra-bāho bhava viśva-mūrte
I wish to see you in the same form as before with crown, with mace and with disc in your hand. Oh Lord, with thousand arms! Oh Lord, with Universal form! Appear with that very same four-armed form.

  • Arjuna concludes his reverentially to Bhagavān.
  • Quick summary:
    • Verse 35-45, Arjuna expressed appreciation of viśva-rūpa. Surrenders at feet of Lord.
    • Arjuna mind’s isn’t sufficiently qualified to withstand viśva-rūpa-darśanam. Because his vāsanās are categorizing pairs of opposites.
    • How to qualify the mind?
      • Start with ekarūpa Īśvara. Personal deity with whom you feel close with. One that inspires.
        • For some it’s nature (lovers of nature).

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 47

mayā prasannena tava arjuna idam | rūpam param darśitam ātma-yogāt
tejomayam viśvam anantam ādyam | yat me tvat anyena na dṛṣṭa-pūrvam
The Lord said – Oh Arjuna! By My power this supreme form has been shown to you by Me, who is pleased (with you). Such a form of Mine which is radiant, universal, other than you.

  • Sri Krishna says: “I’ve shown this viśva-rūpa because you asked. I’ve now taken away this viśva-rūpa because you asked”.
    • I am karma-phala-dātā, giver of results of jīva’s actions/requests.
  • mayā prasannena tava arjuna idam: My Macrocosmic Subtle body / total mind / hiraṇyagarbha has been shown, because of My Māyā śakti.
  • Also Arjuna, I was pleased with your sincerity and desire to know, for that reason, you were a deserving candidate of My divya cakṣuḥ.
    • But as you’ve seen Arjuna, even the God can’t clean up your mind. Only you can. Meaning, no one can save you, but yourself.
  • Nobody else has seen this before.
    • Figurative expression. Not literal.
    • Because Yaśoda and Sañjaya also seen.
  • Revision of some prominent verses:
    • 11.36: All is at it should be.
      • Nothing is out of place in the world. Because everything follows 1:1 ratio of cause-effect.
        • In fact it’s only because of predictability of laws-orders that we do certain actions, knowing they’ll lead to a certain result.
    • 11.37:
      • What we understand, is what we what we value, is what we pay attention to.
      • Jñāni understands that One is appearing as many, thus values everything as viśva-rūpa.
        • Which maintains his/her composure when paying attention to challenging times unfolding.
    • 11.43:
      • God alone Is. There is no second.
      • Concept of God may vary (because each personality will define Him differently), but God as the limitless One cannot vary.
      • Meaning anything in world is worthy of worship.
    • 11.46: Krishna 4-hands analogy:
      • Life of a human being can only consist of 4 pursuits.
        • Dharma: morality, ethics.
        • Artha: wealth, security.
        • Kāma: comfort, power, fame.
        • Mokṣa (turīya): freedom from need to repeat first 3 (3 guṇās).
      • Hand 1: Conch
        • Beacons us to recognize presence of Īśvara.
      • Hand 2: wheel (cakra)
        • Cautions from wise people from falling into adharmic paths (seemingly pleasant).
      • Hand 3: Mace
        • Immediate results of irresponsible actions.
      • Hand 4: Lotus
        • Bless us mokṣa for our devotion backed by jñānam.
      • What is symbolism of Arjuna / Krishna relationship?
        • Eternal & intimate relation between finite individual (jīva) and infinite Parameśvaraḥ.


Keywords: avatara, bhagavan, bhishma, bhisma, brahmaji, caksuh, darsanam, darshanam, drona, ekarupa isvara, hiranyagarbha, ishvara, isvara, jiva, jnanam, jnani, karma-phala-data, karna, ksatriya, kshatriya, lakshmi, laksmi, mahatmas, maya, maya sakti shakti, mithya, moksa, moksha, nama-rupa, namaskara, papa, paramesvara, paraveshvara, prarabdha, pratipaksha, pratipasa bhavana, punya, purusa, purusha, raksamsi, raksasa, rakshasa, ramayana, ravana, samskaras, sancita, sanjaya, sarira, sastra, sharira, shastra, shiva, siva, sukshma, suksma, vishnu, vishva rupa, visnu, visva rupa, yamah, yashoda, yasoda

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 8 Dec, 2020


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