Home > Bhagavad Gita > Chapter 9: The Secret Path

Chapter 9: The Secret Path

26 Aug 2017   Shanti Gowans
Krishna said: Because you trust me, Arjuna,
I shall now unfold the most secret knowledge of life (Nirguna Brahman),
along with what wisdom is,
knowing which you will be free from suffering forever. (1)
 
This is the supreme wisdom, above all other,
the knowing beyond all knowing,
experienced directly, the ultimate purifier.
Its virtue is great, its practice is relatively easy. 
It is made plain only to the eye of the mystic.
Thus is a person brought to the Truth eternal. (2)
 
Those who are without faith in my teaching
cannot to reach me,
and revolve in the path
of the world of death. (3)
 
I permeate the whole of the universe
in my unmanifest form.
All beings exist within me.
Yet, I am so inconceivably vast,
so beyond existence,
that though they are brought forth,
and sustained by my limitless power,
I am not confined within them. (4-5)
 
In these verses, Krishna talks about Advaita, which he calls the supreme knowledge, the sovereign secret by which a human being is brought to the ultimate, eternal Truth. This sovereign method he is referring to is 'Self-enquiry', which is relatively easy because it does not entail any strenuous disciplines, nor does it entail any formal observance of any physical or mental disciplines for a prescribed period of time, and yet it internally purifies the seeker. It can be apprehended directly by an immediate experience of the Self, and once this is experienced directly, the sense of personal doership, the "me" is totally annihilated for all time.
 
It is however, not available to all. It is made plain only to the eye of the mystic, only to those who have receptivity to this teaching. Those whose nature inclines them towards seeking material gain or power will not even be interested in seeking the self.
 
Thus this teaching (that the entire universe is pervaded by Him in that eternal form, which is not manifested to the senses) is thus not available to those whose dharma (set of natural circumstances) does not permit them to be open to this teaching. It is only available to those who can see their face without the aid of a mirror.
 
Krishna also says that the Self is not within any creature, but that all creatures exist within it. In this one line, he expresses the simultaneous principles of immamence and transcendence. All creation are part of the reflection or manifest expression of the unmanifest. The unmanifest therefore is immanent in all creatures but, at the same time, the unmanifest transcends all creation. The substance can exisgt without the shadow, but the shadow cannot exist without the substance. The substance, therefore is immanent in the shadow, and at the same time, transcends the shadow.
 
Just as the constantly moving wind, being born of space,
wherever it goes, always remains in the vastness of space,
likewise, know that all beings (who have originated from my thought)
remain within me. (6)
 
They are gathered back into my womb
at the finale of the cosmic cycle, a hundred fifty thousand billion earthly years. 
During this dissolution, all beings enter my Prakruti (the primal cause),
and at the beginning of creation, I send them forth again. (7)
 
As a new cycle begins,
I release, again and again (according to their respective karmas),
pouring from my abundance,
the myriad forms of life. (8) 
 
Those actions, however, do not bind me Arjuna.
I stand apart from them all,
indifferent to their outcome,
unattached, serene. (9)
 
Under my guidance,
nature brings forth the whole creation, 
both animate and inanimate 
and sets the whole universe (the wheel of Samsara) in motion. (10)
 
Foolish people,
blind to my true nature
as the Lord of all life and death,
despise me in the human form I take. (11)
 
Their hopes and actions are vain,
their fruitless knowledge is sheer delusion.
Turning from the light,
they fall into cruelty, selfishness, greed. (12)
 
But the truly wise, Arjuna,
who dive deep into themselves,
fearlessly one-poined,
know me as the inexhaustible source. (13)
 
Constantly chanting my praise,
steadfast in their devotion,
ever united with me through meditation,
they make their lives an unending hymn to my endless love. (14)
 
Others (on the path of knowledge)
know me as the many,
the One, absolute, universal, formless aspect behind the faces of millions of gods,
taking me to be diverse in diverse celestial forms. (15)
 
I am the ritual, the worship, the medicine (herbage and foodgrains),
and the sacred formula (mantra). 
I am the butter burnt in the fire, I am the sacred flames that consume it,
and I am verily the act of offering oblations into the fire. (16)
 
I am the sustainer and father of this universe,
and its mother and essence, the one worth knowing,
the goal of all knowledge, the purifier, the sacred Om,
and the threefold Vedas: Rk, Yajur and Sama. (17)
 
I am the beginning and the end,
origin and dissolution,
supreme goal, supporter, witness, abode, refuge, true lover,
womb (to which all beings return at the time of universal destruction) and imperishable seed. (18)
 
I radiate the heat of the sun.
I hold back the rain and release it.
I am death and the deathless,
and all that is and is not. (19)
 
The righteous who follow the scriptures strictly,
who drink the sap of Soma,
who are purified of their sins,
and pray to have access to heaven,
reach the world of the gods, Indra's paradise,
and enjoy a celestial, indescribable bliss. (20)
 
Having enjoyed the extensive heaven-world,
they fall back to this word of mortals
when their merits is exhausted.
Impelled by desire, they achieve only what will pass away. (21)
 
But those who undistracted and lovingly meditate on me,
and worship me everywhere, always,
to those ever united in thought with me always,
I will bring a reward that can never be lost. (22)
 
Even those devotees
who worship other gods with deep faith,
are really worshipping me,
even if they do not know it. (23)
 
For I am the only object
and the only enjoyer of worship;
but they fall back (return to life on earth)
because they cannot know me as I truly am (the supreme deity). (24)
 
Those who worship the gods go to the gods;
those who worship the spirits to the spirits;
worshiping me  they come to me alone.
(Which is why my devotees are no longer subject to birth and death). (25)
 
Whosoever offers to me with love,
a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water,
I will accept it
if given with a loving heart. (26)
 
Whatever you do,
whatever you say or eat,
or pray or ej=njoy or suffer, 
do it as an offering to me. (27)
 
In this way you will be freed from all the bonds of karma (results of your actions)
good or harmful,
unfettered, untroubled,
you will come to me. (28)
 
I am the same to all beings;
there is none more favoured or rejected to me.
But those who devoutly worship me
live within me, and I live in them. (29)
 
Even if the vilest criminal
loves me with all his heart,
he will certainly grow into sainthood
for he has rightly resolved as he moves towards me on this path.
(He is positive in his belief and there is nothing like devoted worship). 30
 
Speedily he becomes pure.
His heart finds eternal peace.
Know it for certain, Arjuna,
no one who truly loves me will ever be lost. (31)
 
All those who love and trust me,
even the lowest of the low,
prostitutes, beggars, slaves, 
will attain the ultimate goal. (32)
 
How much easier then, for spiritual people
or for those with noble hearts.
In this joyless and transient human life,
turn to me and find freedom. (33)
 
Concentrate your mind on me,
fill your heart with my presence,
love me, serve me, worship me
and you will attain me eventually. (34)
 

 

 

 


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