Chapter 9 – Rāja Vidya Rāja Guhya Yoga

The Lord declares to Arjuna that he will now teach the most sacred and the most secretive knowledge. It is considered secretive, as it’s not within the grasp of everyone to comprehend. Hence, even if such knowledge is imparted to all, if you’re unable to understand it, it will retain its ‘secretive’ nature. So this is not secretiveness created by exclusivity of audience, but secretiveness retained due to inability of most, to comprehend the subject. So then, is this knowledge too complicated? No, it is not complicated, IF you have certain virtues like Shradha (conviction), Bhakti, and follow the principles of Karma Yoga that the lord outlined in the earlier chapters (Chapter 2 and 3).

To Arjuna, the Jagatguru Krishna says he will bestow both knowledge as well as the experience of it, which will relieve him from all his miseries in life. If you’re wondering, why only to Arjuna, why not me? When will I get to learn about this knowledge? Recall, Arjuna is a representation of all of us! If you too are as keen as Arjuna, if you too have same conviction on the Lord, if you too have entirely surrendered yourself to the Lord asking him to show light – you too shall get similar knowledge as well as experience of this most sacred knowledge. On the other hand, if you do not possess these qualities, you cannot understand or experience this profound knowledge.

What is this knowledge all about?

This knowledge is all about that infinite, all pervading, governing principle of this entire existence. How does one define infinite? How do we perceive the largeness of infinite, or how do we talk about power that is infinite? Finite nature of our thoughts, driven by the finite instruments called sense organs, fails us miserably in comprehending such a concept. The lord explains the subject using contradiction, to emphasise the limits of our cognitive capabilities, and hence the need to seek beyond it. 

How do I understand about this supreme, infinite principle? The ‘Purusha’..

Lord Krishna declares that he, in his pure, original, unmanifested form of energy, is all pervading this entire existence. Thus all of creation exists in him, but he is not in them. That is, the supreme being is not confined by individual bodily existence, nor bound by the body. Like how in an ocean all the living beings flourish, although the ocean can never be confined within such beings.  

Just before you conclude you just understood what infinite means, lord adds on – “Listen to my yogic power – the creation is NOT within me, nor do I live in them, yet I am the nourisher of all, and they all arise from me”. The first part may sound contradicting to previous declaration that all of creation exists in him. But the emphasis here is to NOT limit your understanding about infinite, to what is around you. Let’s look back at the example of ocean. For the living beings in ocean to think their surroundings itself is ocean, is limiting the definition of vastness of ocean! The ocean is much much more – it is also in the form of large chunks of ice nearer to poles, also in the form of thunderous clouds that evaporated from the ocean, also in the form of boisterous waves hitting on the shores, also in the form of dark abyss reaching the depths of sea floor, and what not! So the implicit message is, do not rely on the limited abilities of sense organs to understand the infinite. The principle of awareness in us, should go beyond experiences from sense organs, to comprehend the infinite qualities Supreme Being! 

The lord here gives example of the wind – how the mighty wind blowing everywhere all the time, still always rests in the space – similarly all beings rest in me, although I am much more than the wind and unaffected by the wind.

What defines this existence? Since when it exists, until when it will exist?

Now the lord goes on to explain about the cyclical nature of existence. He states without ambiguity, that the entire creation dissolves into him at the end of a ‘Kalpa’ and he triggers the creation again at the beginning of the next ‘Kalpa’. Here ‘Kalpa’ is a measure of time – roughly few billions of years – specifics is beyond the scope of this blog. There are plenty of sources on the net, that can give you details of all measures of time described in our scriptures. The more important point to note is, the lord clearly states that the entire existence, the creation, the universe too, is in a constant churn of birth and death. The lord goes on to explain further – By means of my Prakriti (the creative energy), I create all beings again and again, and I am at the source of the repeated annihilation as well. Yet, I am not bound by this process – I am unattached and indifferent to these happenings. It is Prakriti, that is under my supervision that creates all the beings, and thus causes the existence to move through these cycles. 

So what is Prakriti? It is that inseparable part of the lord’s energy, always situated in the lord, and is responsible for all varying manifestation of material existence. Like how body and bodily experiences are for our soul. The bodily experience keeps changing, the body form and shape keeps changing, while the soul continues to remain unaffected and yet, lends support to the existence of body. The concept is the same, at varied scales, every where!

All this may sound hazy, and that is likely because we are trying to fit in our thoughts within the thought framework provided by our education based on western science. Western science has an approach largely based on tangible evidence, which proves to be a constrain while exploring subjects that are beyond the grasp of sense organ based experiences. The approach might be alright, but it certainly slows down the process of exploration. Hence, to understand these, it is necessary to break out your thoughts from the shackles of constrains – that alone can help you experience the nature of infinite, because nothing can define it in words!

The process to explore and experience the Supreme, Infinite principle

From here on, the lord elaborates on how can one come to experience the various facets of this supreme, infinite being. First the lord talks about the typical ignorance one should overcome. The representation of the lord that is within each of us – to not recognise it as the part of the same supreme being just because it appears confined to the body. Such ignorance is at the root of all delusion we create for ourselves. The lord says, a true seeker on the other hand, will seek for that experience with full conviction and dedication, worshipping me throughout. Here the act of worship, is to be considered as the act of constantly engaging in the act of seeking, to gain the experience of that supreme being! Singing the glories of the lord, through bhajans, keertans, are all different ways of remembering innumerous qualities of that supreme being. Knowledge on any subject can be refined and improvised, by constantly engaging in related activities of the subject and constant flow of thoughts on that subject. Thus, the process of gaining perfection remains the same, here as well. 

How do we engage all our thoughts on this exploration of truth?

Now that the process to explore is explained, the lord explains the topics to explore – essentially how his presence is all pervading. He is the father, the mother, the supporter of this entire existence. The syllable , all the vedas – they all represent the same supreme being. That is the goal of all knowledge that is to be known, he is the master of all the laws of existence, he is the time and witness of all, he is the creation, destruction, and source of everything. I am the heat, the rain, the lack of it, the immortality or the death, both existence and non existence – I am at the source of all these as well. By quoting all these enumerations, the lord is showing us a way of being able to perceive him in everything that we see and experience in our daily life – so we are never lost in being able to experience his divinity everywhere.

In the last few verses, the lord talks about differentiating between the lower energies derived from his Prakriti and his higher supreme nature. The scriptures also talks about various rituals aimed at gaining worldly pleasure. One can choose to go behind these, gain such pleasures as well. But as material pleasure is always limited, it will come to an end, thus forcing one to engage in actions again. So if you are seeking liberation, from repeated cycle of desires, actions and results; from repeated cycle of birth and death; then you must necessarily engage in seeking the higher supreme being. As long as you seek that supreme being with utmost sincerity and dedication, the lord will aide this journey in gaining the experience of the lord. Again, the lord emphasises the importance of dedicating all our actions to the lord – because that alone can kill the ego in us, which is the main distraction in this process of experiencing the lord!

In the closing verse – lord declares – engage every thought and your every action on me. You shall certainly experience me! 

DISCLAIMER: This our sincere attempt to summarise the Gitōpadesha, via a series of short blogs. This is NOT the whole translation, or commentary of the divine book. We seek forgiveness of reader and the lord, for omissions which is inevitable to keep the blog short. The write-ups include both, writer’s personal opinion and summarised version of many shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita. Intent of blog was never to be a commentary of Bhagavad Gita, but simply inspire the reader to read Bhagavad Gita in it’s entirety. The writer is neither a scholar, nor a bummer, somewhere in between, with a firm belief that the lord gets him to do all the things he does. Being human, he still keeps erring. Forgive him for all such mistakes.

Sarvam Krishnarpanamasthu!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *