Introduction to Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 – Vibhuti-Yoga: Verse 1-3 (79)


Lesson 79 starts with revision of Ishvara's TWO natures, and THREE stages of understanding reality all bhaktas go through. Then Krishna states everything we are proud of is NOT ours. Not a single accomplishment belongs to you. Everything belongs to Lord. Benefit of this understanding is weakening of pride/ownership (ego), thus detachment from false identity of body-mind.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10: Verse 1, 2, 3


  • In CH7-9, Kṛṣṇa said Īśvara is of:
    • 2 natures:
      1. Parā-prakṛti: Ātma. Unchanging consciousness.
      2. Aparā-prakṛti: Inert Matter. 
    • And since Īśvara is jagat-kāraṇam (cause of the universe), means the jagat we experience is a mixture of Consciousness & Matter.
  • Commonalities regarding parā/aparā-prakṛti:
    • Both are beginningless.
    • Both cannot be created. Meaning can never have more of either. Thus to say “I am more aware” is incorrect. Only getting more knowledge, but still limited.
    • Therefore, uncreated-beginningless consciousness-matter-unity is called Īśvara.
  • Differences regarding parā/aparā-prakṛti:
Parā-prakṛti Aparā-prakṛti

1) Not subject to change. Nirvikāra.

2) Free from all properties/attributes. Hence unavailable to any instrument. Nirguṇa

3) Satyam. Independent.

4) Conscious. Cetana tatvam.

1) Changes. Has evolution/expansion AND involution/contraction. Savikāra.

2) Infinite variations of properties/attributes. Saguṇa.

3) Mithyā. Depends on Satyam.

4) Inert. Acetana-tatvam.

  • Therefore Īśvara is mixture of: changeless/changing, attributeless/attributeful, independent/dependent, conscious/inert.
    • Symbolically presented as Father-Mother. Inseparable.
  • Understanding Īśvara as jagat-kāraṇam has 3 stages depending on students maturity:
    • STAGE 1: Īśvara creates the world, just as carpenter creates furniture, goldsmith produces ornaments.
      • Creator/created separate. God is pure, world is impure.
      • Īśvara is nimitta-kāraṇam (efficient/intelligent cause).
      • Student/seeker assumes Ishvara like an intelligent person in location.
      • How universe comes?
        • SYMBOLIC: Lord Viṣnu creates out of his naval, Brahmāji. What this symbolism means is, Viṣṇu (Consciousness) enjoys capacity to manifest. This capacity to manifest a universe is called “Brahmāji“.
    • STAGE 2: Bhakta (devotee) is skeptical. How can infinite Lord be located? From where did materials come from?
      • Īśvara actually manifests as the whole universe.
      • Materials are also of Īśvara also. Just like wood pervades table, chair, tiles, tree, house, chopping board.
        • Can’t say wood AND furniture. But wood is in and through all furniture.
      • Therefore Īśvara does NOT create jagat. But (Īśvara’s aparā-prakṛti) manifests as jagat.
        • EG: Sunlight is NOT created by Īśvara. But is a manifestation of Īśvara. Reason why sun is worshipped.
      • Īśvara is: nimitta & upādāna-kāraṇam (intelligent & material cause). Just like spider. Intelligent and material cause of the web.
      • Called viśva-rūpa bhakti. It ends seeking Divinity/Lord in various gurus, pilgrimages, churches.
        • Open eyes, Lord is everywhere.
        • Vision brings divinity to all that is perceived.
      • Once know Īśvara is in all forms/names, “Where is Lord?” question drops.
      • CH7-12.
    • STAGE 3: Remaining in viśva-rūpa appreciation for long time, leads to Stage 3.
      • Īśvara does not CREATE, nor manifests as jagat. Both imply change.
      • Instead, Ishvara appears as jagat.
        • Jagat is mithya. And truth of mithyā is satyam.
        • IE: Brahma satyam, jagat mithyā.
      • To appreciate Universe as appearance/unreal… requires intellectual/emotional maturity.
      • CH13-18.
  • Since CH10 is in Stage 2, Kṛṣna points out, there is no world apart from Me. Meaning all glories belong to Īśvara.
    • Jīva has no glories of his/her own. Because jīva’s BMI is also made up of aparā-prakṛti.
    • This understanding produces humility. And removes all inferiority/superiority complex.
      • EG: No need to compare or become jealous against another’s brilliance. All skills/talents are Īśvara’s ONLY.
    • More on this in CH10.


Chapter 10 INTRO:

  • Chapter timeline:
    • CH 1-6: About jīva. Tvam (you).
      • CH 1: Arjuna’s sorrow. Common of all jīvas.
      • CH 2: Discover’s ācārya Kṛṣṇa. Seeks refuge in Kṛṣṇa (representing Īśvara).
        • Krishna teaches ātma-svarūpa.
      • CH 3: Karma-Yoga: Aptitude (according to guṇas) with right attitude (only ever working for Bhagavān).
      • CH 4: Ātmā is akartā (non-doer).
      • CH 5: Jīva’s renunciation.
      • CH 6: Contemplation on the contemplator.
    • CH 7-12: Truth of Īśvara & Glory of Īśvara. Tat (That).
      • CH 10: All about glories of Īśvara.
        • EG: Anything which takes breath away. Mountaintop. Scenic views. Beauty. Even ugliness.
        • Meaning Bhagavān is to be contemplated, recognized & appreciated in all things. Because Bhagavān alone is famous and beautiful. Nobody else.
  • NEXT VERSE: Krishna explains why he will repeat himself…


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 1:

  • Bhagavān will talk about his glories. Message is “All glories that you have belongs to Me”.
  • Arjuna hasn’t asked anything. So Kṛṣṇa takes opportunity to speak about Īśvara svarūpa.
    • Because rare to get inquisitive śiṣya like Arjuna. It inspires ācārya to continue. If śiṣya looking at watch, ācārya forgets.
  • Bhūyaḥ eva śṛṇu me vacaḥ: Listen to my supreme words AGAIN, regarding truth of Īśvara and glories.
    • “Supreme words” because they are pramāṇa (means of knowledge) for Īśvara svarūpam.
  • Yat te ahaṃ prīyamāṇāya vakṣyāmi hitakāmyayā: Who are pleased with my words, I will tell you.
    • Arjuna is pleased with Gītā so far. Few hours ago in CH1, he was despondent. Kṛṣṇa compelled teach more.
  • Moreover, hitakāmyayā: For your benefit. Because:
    • I am interested in your welfare.
    • And without understanding Bhagavān fully, the “tat tvam asi” equation will be incomplete.
  • How will recognizing Īśvara’s glories benefit you?
    • Pride / ahaṅkāra diminishes. Paves way for understanding Īśvara.
      • Ahaṅkāra is the ONLY aspect standing in the way, resolving difference between self and Īśvara.
      • Can only be dismissed via knowledge. But not easy, because śāstra often inflates Ahaṅkāra.
    • In fact, ahaṅkāra’s nature is to feel proud when accomplishes.
      • But this reinforces “I am unworthy. I am this limited BMI”.
    • Problem with pride / ownership / ahaṅkāra:
      • Person does to enjoy actions results. To inflate self-esteem or bring fulfillment.
      • Implies “I am unworthy, I don’t have much value”.
    • How to deflate ahaṅkāra (my-ness, sense of “I”):
      • Understand anything making you feel glorious/special, belongs to Bhagavān.
      • This brings clarity in thinking in all areas of life. Greatest personal accomplishment.
        • Clarity metaphor: Every moment like 1+1. Instead of 343 x 74.89.
  • Vibhūti-yoga benefits in 2 ways:
    1. Reveals īśvara-svarūpa > recognize full meaning of aham brahman asmi”.
    2. Instead of feeling jealous/intimidated/confronted when someone shines, bhakta says, Īśvara glories are expressing through their BMI just like through my BMI”.
      • Therefore CH10 is essential for spiritual maturity.
  • Skepticism: Why listen to Bhagavān tell us glories? EG: I am Himalayas, Everest, Gaṅgā, etc. Why not listen to pundit or a guru or from motivational-speakers or even jñāni?
    • Because only Īśvara is TOTAL knowledge (sarvajña: omniscience). Everyone else is limited knowledge.
  • NEXT VERSE: Why Bhagavān alone has authority to speak Bhagavān’s glories…


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 2:

  • Me prabhavam na viduḥ: My glories/śakti or how this world comes about, they do not TOTALLY know.
    • Who is they? Suraganāḥ: All devās (aspects which govern creation) in existence. Indra, Varuṇa, etc.
      • They may know own nature as paramātma, but still don’t know ALL glories of Īśvara.
        • EG: Brahmāji only knows glory of creation, not Viṣṇu’s sustenance.
          • Air doesn’t know glory of fire, etc.
  • Mahān ca asau ṛṣiḥ: Even maharṣis (great sages) / jñāni’s don’t know.
    • They do know all mithyā name/forms resolve into satyam (Brahman).
      • EG: Complicated Desk design / chair / board nāma-rūpa resolves into wood.
      • But they don’t know all mithyā details.
    • Whereas Īśvara also knows truth of self is satyam-Brahman. But ALSO has details about all mithyā names/forms.
      • Thus Īśvara is also aparā-prakṛti all knowing.
  • Aham ādiḥ hi devānām maharṣīnāṁ ca sarvaśaḥ: They don’t know My glories because I am cause of ALL devās & maharṣis.
    • EG: Describing to a child experience of giving them birth and caring for them. Person will only get vague idea, but never direct experience. Because of (1) limitation of words (2) listener misinterprets.
      • In other words, EFFECT (devās/sages) can never FULLY understand the CAUSE (Īśvara).
      • Therefore manifestations of universe can never be FULLY understood by anyone (even various devatās/Gods), despite several models already shown in Upaniṣads.
  • For this reason, only Bhagavān is qualified to talk about His vibhūti. Because Bhagavān is nimitta & upādāna-kāraṇam of time/space and objects.
    • While devas / maharṣis are mortals with limited knowledge, who came after.
  • In CH10, Kṛṣna introduces himself as omniscient (sarvajña) Īśvara, hence dialog is between Īśvara & jīva.
  • DOUBT: Any knower is limited.
    • Knower is called pramātā.
      • Pramātā refers to jīva.
        • And what is jīva?
          • A entity which mistakenly has “I AM” associated with the mind and sense organs, hence considers oneself to be the knower/doer/enjoyer (ahaṅkāra).
          • Jīva usually refers to ignorant persons (saṃsāri). However it can also refer to just body-mind. Thus even jñāni can be considered a jīva, assuming it's referring to jñāni's body-mind.
      • Paramātā can also refer to ahaṅkāra. Thus even jñāni has a pramātā, except doesn't identify.
    • Why is knower (pramātā) limited? Because a paramātā is one possibility out of infinite sarva-jñānam.
    • So how can a limited pramātā (knower, in this case Krishna) say “I know all mithyā jagat details”?
      • In short: What makes Kṛṣṇa different from devas/maharṣi’s/jñānis – that he ALONE is qualified to speak of glories?
    • ANSWER UNFOLDED: Īśvara's lower nature is called aparā-prakṛti / māyā. It is an upādhi (superimposition) of Īśvara.
      • What are features of māyā?
        • Sarva-jñānam: TOTAL knowledge.
        • Contains a power called: āravaṇa-śakti (concealing):
          • Not applicable to Īśvara, because Īśvara is adhiṣṭhāna (support) of māyā.
          • But it limits jīva's knowledge. Meaning no jīva has access to sarva-jñānam, because of āravaṇa-śakti.
        • Therefore, māyā which keeps jīva ignorant, becomes the glory for Īśvara. Because māyā gives access to all knowledge to Īśvara.
        • So if Krishna is also a jīva, doesn’t that make Krishna under spell āvaraṇa-śakti?
          • Because Krishna is an avatāra. This means Kṛṣṇa is born at will of Īśvara, and not because of karma.
          • Therefore consciousness (atman) in Kṛṣṇa’s BMI is conditioned by māyā-upādhi – and not avidyā-upādhi (in case of deva / ṛṣi).
    • How do we prove Krishna is not conditioned like ordinary jīva/maharṣi/deva?
      • He is talking about things, which nobody else knows, nor could’ve thought of.
  • NEXT VERSE: Bhagavān describes himself as one without birth and CAUSE of everything. If know Him as such, leads to mokṣa


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 3:

  • Aham ajaḥ: Because I am the cause of everything, there is no cause for Me; unborn. Because I am anādi. Beginingless; never started.
    • I am not caused by anything, therefore I’m not an effect.
    • I am neither the waker, dreamer, deep sleeper.
    • I am neither physical, subtle or causal world/body.
    • I am adhiṣṭhāna. Basis/truth of all 3, called turīya.
  • Asammūḍha: Who is free from delusion (liberated)? Who recognizes Bhagavān as the truth of everything.
    • Opposite is sammūdha: Turns omnipresent satyam/ātma INTO individual mithyā forms.
      • EG: Mithyā is tallness/smart > “I am” (ātma) tall/smart.
        • Consequence: Every object has it’s own existence. We make big deal about everything.
  • Saḥ martyeṣu asammūdhaḥ: Jñāni is not deluded, even though amongst mortals. Jñāni can’t be taken as mortal.
  • Sarvapapiḥ: Because “I” is shifted from kartā to ātma (akartā) – jñāni is free from all pāpa.
    • Even puṇya-karma (bondage to success).
    • 2 Types of pāpa-karma (actions which create inconvenience):
      1. Deliberate/thought-out (commission)
      2. Because of indifference/carelessness (omission):
        • EG: Tell employee to dry the floor after cleaning. But does sloppy job. Someone slips and hurts head. Employee says “I accept my mistake”.
          • Point is: Not interested in excuses. Supposed to be alert/careful at all time.
        • What about unconsciously stepping on insets? Daily prayers / nitya-karma.
  • NEXT VERSE: Bhagavān glories are shown as qualities in humans…


Keywords: adhisthana, aham kara, ahankaara, ahankara, apara, atma-svarupa, avarana shakti, avidya, bhagavan, brahmaji, devas, ganga, jiva, jnani, karanam, maharishi, maharsi, mithya, nimitta-karana, nirguna, nirvikara, papa, para, paramatma, prakriti, prakrti, pramata, punya, puranas, rishi, rsi, saguna, sakshi, saksi, sarva-jnanam, sarvajna, savikara, sishya, sisya, suraganah, upadana-karana, upadhi, upanisad, upanishads, varuna, vibhuti yoga, visva vishva rupa


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda of Arsha Vidya & Chinmaya Mission

Recorded 21 Jan, 2020



  1. I greatly appreciate this. What is th ename and contact info of the lecturer? Thanks,

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