Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 1

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 1

Sree Bhagawan Uvacha:


The Lord said:

I had taught this everlasting yoga to Vivasvaan. Vivasvaan taught it to Manu who declared it to Ikshvaku.


Let us briefly recollect Sloka 15, chapter 3:

“Know that the action arises from the Vedas. The Vedas are born from the imperishable Brahman.”

Knowledge of the Self is the theme of the Vedas. The Vedas deal with the task of bringing out the divinity in man. This is with the sole intention of universal welfare.Vedas being so vast are difficult to understand by ordinary mortals. Upanishads/Vedanta are said to be the final chapters of the Vedas. There are more than 108 Upanishads and again not easy for the ordinary mortals to understand in their life time. Srimad Bhagawad Gita is the summary of all the Upanishads and the simplest form for the humans to understand.

That Sloka 15 says that the Vedas are born from the imperishable Brahman. The Sloka in this chapter says that Krishna taught it to Vivasvaan. We have to understand by these two slokas that Sri Krishna is declaring that He is none other than Brahman.

In the earlier Vedic period, the mode of teaching was “oral transmission” from the learned to the seeker. As there were no institutions like the present universities and as there was no from of written language, it was transmitted by word of mouth.

Vivasvaan taught it to his son Manu.

Vivasvaan is the name of “Sun God.” “Sun” as we know is the source of light for the entire universe. This light is not for any selected few but to one and all, both animate and inanimate. The scriptures always relate the “Light” to the “Light of Knowledge.” Hence, we have to take that “He” has given the light of knowledge to one and all irrespective of religion, caste; sex etc. He has made it the “Universal Knowledge” and not restricted to selected few. It is important to realise that the Sun god represents actions that follow the principle of “Nishkama karma.”

Manu is the first Aryan man, progenitor for the entire mankind. He is considered to be the son of Vivasvat, the sun god. He is said to be the first one to offer oblations to the gods.

Manu, it says, gave the knowledge to Ikshvaku. It is the name of the king, son of Manu Vaivasvat. He founded the solar dynasty.

The role of the kings in ancient India was mainly in upholding dharma and propagating dharma to all its subjects. Hence, the Vedas were taught to the kings for protection of their subjects.

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