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May 25, 1999   VNN3949  Comment on this story

Sri Gita: 'Their Perfection Knows Perfection'


EDITORIAL, May 25 (VNN) — (from Sanga wfd@efn.org)

Tuesday, May 25th, Padmini ekadasi.

"Although a liberated siddha, a jivan-mukta who had realized Brahman, Sukadeva became attracted to Krishna, his form, qualities, and lilas. What then is the nature of Krishna?"

Chapter 7, Text 2 - 3, 'Bhagavad Gita: Its Feeling and Philosophy' by Swami B.V. Tripurari.

7:2 "Without holding anything back, I shall expound upon this knowledge both theoretically and practically, knowing which in this world, there remains nothing further to be known."

Here j–anam refers to theoretical knowledge derived from scripture. Vij–ana is the practical wisdom that constitutes realization of the theory.Generally, the latter follows the former. Theoretical knowledge is required, and by applying this wisdom practically, one gains wisdom.

Regarding the sacred literature, it is said that nothing exists outside of the mind of Vyasa, its compiler. However, possessing theoretical knowledge alone does not make one's knowledge complete. It is the realization of this knowledge that leaves nothing further to be known.

The knowledge that Krishna will explain is knowledge of himself, Bhagavan, and not knowledge of lesser manifestations of the Absolute. This is implied in his willingness to speak without reservation (asesatah). Knowledge relating to the nature of the self is more confidential than knowledge pertaining to material progress in religious life. More confidential still is knowledge relating to the personality of the Absolute.

Next Krishna further glorifies this knowledge by addressing the rarity of its attainment.

7:3 "Out of thousands of persons hardly anyone strives for perfection; of those striving for such, and even those who have attained perfection, hardly anyone knows me in truth."

Although in one sense everyone pursues perfection on some level, very few people are interested in striving for perfection systematically in accordance with the sacred literature and advice of saints. One reason for lackluster enthusiasm among those who are aware of the path is the apparent rarity of success.

In this verse, Krishna makes a startling point: among liberated souls (siddhanam) very few know him in truth. According to Sridhara Swami, the spirit of this verse is that "even among thousands of those who are perfect through knowledge of the self, only one perchance knows me through my grace as the supreme Self in truth." Krishna, Mukunda, the giver of liberation, stands above liberation, and if he should grace the liberated, their perfection knows perfection.

Realizing Krishna as 'param brahma' is a post-liberated realization. The example of Sukadeva Goswami from Srimad-Bhagavatam serves to illustrate this important point. Although a liberated siddha, a jivan-mukta who had realized Brahman, Sukadeva became attracted to Krishna, his form, qualities, and lilas. What then is the nature of Krishna? This question was touched upon in the fourth chapter during the tangential discussion of the avatara. It will be more fully addressed in this chapter.

Having aroused Arjuna's interest in three introductory verses, Krishna next speaks in two verses about himself in terms of his saktis that make up the material world. First he speaks of his secondary power (maya sakti) and then his intermediate power (jiva sakti). He does so not with a view to explain these energies in any detail, but to define their ontological status. Further discussion of them will be taken up in chapter thirteen.

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

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