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May 23, 1999   VNN3931  Comment on this story

Sri Gita: 'Homeland Of The Heart


EDITORIAL, May 23 (VNN) — (from Sanga wfd@efn.org)

"Complete (samagram) knowing is the knowledge that is inherent in love.

When one loves, one knows what to do. When one loves God, one knows everything one needs to know."

Chapter 7, Text 1, 'Bhagavad Gita: It's Feeling and Philosophy' by Swami B.V. Tripurari.

"The Lord of Sri said: Listen, O Partha, how with mind attached to me, practicing yoga and taking refuge in me, you can know me completely without doubt."

Concluding the sixth chapter by emphasizing devotion to himself, Krishna continues speaking about devotion as the seventh chapter opens. While knowledge of the self (tvam, 'you') is revealed in the first six chapters, knowledge of that which the self is to be united in love (tat, 'his') is revealed in chapters seven through twelve. Thus the famous Upanisadic dictum 'tat tvam asi', 'you are his,' is explained. When Krishna told Arjuna to fix his mind upon him, Arjuna naturally wondered how one does so.

Sensing Arjuna's mental question, Krishna speaks without waiting for Arjuna to ask, enthused to be speaking directly about devotion, by which he can be known completely. In the previous six chapters, knowledge of the individual spiritual self's likeness to Brahman, the nature of the Brahman feature of the Absolute, and its Paramatma feature has been described. In this chapter, knowledge of the Bhagavan feature of Godhead will be discussed.

Bhagavan is the personal lovable aspect of Godhead, replete with eternal form, abode, associates, and pastimes. Reality exists, it is cognizant of itself, and it has a purpose. As Brahman, Godhead exists. As Paramatma, cognizance comes into play, and as Bhagavan, a cognizant existence plays.

This play, the inner life of the Absolute, is the lila of Bhagavan, which overflows into the world of our experience when Bhagavan enters this plane from time to time. As Vedanta-stra informs, 'lokavat tu lila kaivalyam', 'The world is but (God's) play.'

Knowing this feature of Godhead amounts to knowing him completely.

Knowledge of Bhagavan, which includes his saktis, is required if one is to practice the devotional yoga Krishna has characterized as the best of all at the end of the previous chapter. His primary sakti was introduced in the fourth chapter. His intermediate and secondary saktis are introduced in this chapter.

Complete (samagram) knowing is the knowledge that is inherent in love. When one loves, one knows what to do. When one loves God, one knows everything one needs to know. This knowing is characterized further as freeing one from doubt (asamsayam). Doubt is the function of the mind, which when overridden allows us to move freely. Intellect driven movement suggests sureity, yet following its lead amounts to proceeding with caution. It is not the movement of the heart. Here Krishna speaks of the homeland of the heart, and a life in which mind and intellect are subordinate to heart. In this land, one does not doubt the virtue of serving God, but questions how one can serve him best in any given circumstance.

How does one reach this plane? One begins by hearing, indicated here by the words 'tat srnu'. Krishna says further, 'yogam yujan', one attains comprehensive knowing in love through yoga practice. Devotional yoga has three developmental stages: devotion in practice (sadhana bhakti), devotion in ecstasy (bhava bhakti), and devotion in love (prema bhakti). Here Krishna speaks of devotion in practice. He is speaking, however, of the final stage of sadhana bhakti, invoking as he has the word 'asakti', spiritual attachment.

Asakti is the stage of practice in which the practitioner's mind is attached to Krishna, the object of devotion (mayi asakta manah). At this stage, due to intense attachment, one's spiritual identity is glimpsed as one enters devotion in ecstasy, taking refuge in Krishna alone.

To instill within Arjuna the importance of that which he will speak about, Krishna next eulogizes the knowledge under discussion.

'The Bhagavad Gita: It's Feeling and Philosphy' by Swami B.V. Tripurari is scheduled for release in Spring, 2000.

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