Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 5 and 6

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 5

BAHOONI ME’ VYATEETANI JANMANI TAVA CHARJUNA
TANYAHAM VEDA SARVANI NA TVAM VETHA PARANTAPA.

O Parantapa, many births of mine have passed as well as yours. I know them all, but you know them not.

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We need to have Sraddha and Bhakti to accept this statement.

It is the accepted Hindu philosophy that each one of us had so many births and deaths in the past and will have many more of the same in future. The actions we conduct out of ignorance are the root cause for going through so many births and deaths. Not only human births, but our scriptures say that we have gone through births and may go through future births as other forms of life also. It all depends upon the types of actions we conduct/conducted.

By the blessings of the Lord we now are born as humans with the power of intellectual capacity of reasoning. We have adhikara (karmenyevadhikaraste’ – sloka 47, chapter 2.) in the conduct of our actions and thereby we are responsible for our own destiny. Why is this so?

One way of answering this is to say that it is all His leela. The Lord who created life on earth has given us all the freedom to act the way we want but also given the guidance in the form of Vedas to the right ways of conducting actions. The vast universe with its varied manifestations, varied qualities in each individual, varied physical features is full of attraction for each one of us. Forgetting His words of advice or ignorant of His advice we end up conducting actions that bind us to this universe. This is known as “Maya.”

The illusion makes us forget our true identity as the “Atman” within and also makes us forget to see the same Atman in all forms of life. We attach importance to name and form and forget the “Sat, Chit and Ananda.” In other words, we are the slaves to maya. Sri Krishna on the other hand is the master over Maya. Maya has no hold on Him and He wields His power over maya.

We are born as a result of our actions whereas He is born out of His free will. He has taken several births in the past, will take several births in future, all out of His own free will and departs from the world out of His own free will. He is incarnate and we are ordinary mortals.

We have no control over the time, place and the form of our birth. And we also do not have any control over the time of our death. He has full control over the time of His birth and departure from this world.

He remembers all the past, knows the present and is aware of the future of all forms of life. We, on the other hand, do not know our past, do not know the future and think that the life is all about “present.”

In the 15th chapter, He tells us that memory and loss of memory are also His blessings to mankind.

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Sloka 6

AJO’PI SANN AVYAYATMA BHOOTANAAM ISWARO’PI SAN
PRAKRITIM SVAM ADHISHTAYA SAMBHAVAAMI ATMA MAYAYA

Though I am unborn and eternal in MY being, the Lord and controller of all beings, controlling my own nature, I take birth by my own Maya.

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Sri Krishna is saying that He is unborn (aja) and eternal (avyaya). Why?

We, the humans are born into this world and all forms of life are born into this world because of “Karma Phala.” Everyone and everything that is born is due to the failure to burn out the existing vasanas in the previous births. The condition for Moksha (Liberation) is “Mano nasha and vasana kshaya.” The vasanas should be burnt and the mind annihilated.

When we first came out into this world, (many births ago), we came with a pure mind and no vasanas. Association with the world/nature around resulted in desires and hatreds and the consequent actions made us stay in this world on and on.

But, Sri Krishna’s birth is not an ordinary birth like the human. He may have been born as human but not because of any vasanas. He is born out of His own free will and we say it as His “Avatara.”

The Maya or illusion which binds us to this world does not affect Him. Maya is His tool and He decides to do what He wants. He comes into the world and departs from this world on His own free will. It is only for protection of Dharma and uprooting the evil. This is made clear in the coming few slokas.

On the contrary we are the tools of Maya. Maya enslaves us but the Lord enslaves the Maya.

He goes on to say that He is the Lord and controller of all beings.

He, as the Atman resides inside each one of us. He is the Supreme primordial energy. Without the energy we cannot survive. We need energy to live and we need energy to survive. He acts as the energy within and the energy all round us that is resident in nature. Hence He is the Lord. The moment He decides to leave the physical body, we have no more chance to be alive. Without the energy in nature, we cannot survive also.

One other reason for His birth is to set an example for others to follow. We come across several slokas in the Gita that reiterate the fact of His birth to set an example for mankind.

Let us therefore clearly understand that apparently He is the son of Devaki and Vasudeva but actually He, Krishna is the Supreme Parabrahman.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK. 
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at “snath@btinternet.com“.

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