Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 9, part 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 9

JANMA KARMA CHA ME’ DIVYAM EVAM YO VE’TTI TATVATAHA
TYAKTVA DEHAM PUNARJANMA NAITI MAAME’TI SO’RJUNA.

O Arjuna, he who thus knows My divine birth and action, having abandoned the body, is not born again, but to Me, he comes.

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***   continuation from last week   ***

In this Sloka, the attention is drawn to the incarnation of the Brahman as “Krishna.” The Gita as we know is incorporated in the epic Mahabharata and it highlights the divinity of Lord Krishna. He has incarnated on to the earth for the protection of the righteous and destruction of the wicked.

Mahabharata is considered as a Purana. Puranas are a collection of tales of ancient times. In post-Vedic times, the Puranas became the medium for conveying the Vedic teaching to the common man.

In the early Vedic period, there were no forms of God as such. The learned seers who went in search of the life beyond death became convinced of an unknown power behind all the activities on earth. They called the power as “Brahman.” For the sake of description, they said He was Nirguna Nirakara Brahman. This is the first step in bringing the idea of God to the fellow humans.

Understanding and realising this idea is very hard for majority. To make the subject of Brahman easy to understand, the seers took the next step in the description of Nirakara Nirguna Brahman and brought out the notion of “OM”.

 “OM” is the representation of Brahman in the form of “Sound.” Sound is the tanmatra of space. Among the five gross elements of nature, the space/ether is the nearest representation of the Parabrahman.

Meditating on this was the beginning of “Upasana” on the Supreme for the spiritual seekers.

Even this form of upasana is not easy for majority. This lead in course of time to give a name and form to “OM.” This brought out the change in upasana to a form given to the Supreme. This form was dictated by depicting the story of the Brahman in various forms of manifestations known as “Avataras.”

Through these Avataras, meditation on a name and form aspect of the Parabrahman came into vogue. Brahman, birthless and deathless, puts on the appearance of birth and growth by His divine power. It is only for the welfare of the righteous and protection of the righteous. In the process, it is also for elimination of evil.

Those seekers who mature in spirituality and attain higher levels of Bhakti, known as “Para Bhakti”, are able to live unaffected by the changes in the material world. Ultimately, even before casting off their physical bodies they merge into the Supreme.

This Sloka is bringing out this aspect of upasana of “Saguna, Sakara Brahman.” By knowing in detail about the Avatara, accepting the form in which He manifests and developing love, nay, intense love for the same is the method advocated for the benefit of the common man. To do so, the seeker has to have faith in the Brahman and belief in the mythological explanations of the Avataras. He/she can select any one of the Avataras to meditate upon.

***   will be continued   ***

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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