The great bondage
Without pride or delusion, with the evil of attachment conquered, constantly dwelling in the Self, with desires dispelled, freed from the pair of opposites known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded reach the eternal Goal (15:5).
This is the state of moksha–of freedom.
It is possible to waste a lot of time and struggle on things that prove impossible to accomplish because we are going about it in the wrong way. This first sentence gives us invaluable information about dealing with ego and delusion. “How can I get rid of ego?” is a constant refrain of those who realize how deadly it can be. According to the Gita, pride (ego) and delusion are side-effects of ignorance. So we need to work on ridding ourselves of that. Furthermore, once ignorance is gone, so is attachment to the dream-illusions of this world. For our eyes see clearly both the truth and the untruth of things.
The most important characteristic of the liberated yogi is living in conscious, unbroken union with Spirit, individual and infinite. This is the goal of all those within the field of relativity. Illuminated consciousness is total fulfillment, therefore within it all desire has melted away. In the same way the experiences of the senses no longer control or produce delusive reactions. There is an important implication here: the liberated person still experiences the external world–it does not vanish–but without identifying with it or being influenced by it. This is true mastery. Such a state is beyond all change. It cannot be lessened or obscured, for it is Reality itself.
There the sun, moon or fire illuminate not; going whither they return not, for that is my Supreme Abode (15:6).
How is it that what the Gita says about us and our infinite destiny can be true when it seems so beyond anything we know of ourselves? That is because we have no idea of our own nature as part of that Infinite Life that is God. This is why the Gita should be our daily study: to keep us reminded. Now Krishna will explain how we are in a sense incarnations of Divinity.
Merely a fragment of myself, becoming an eternal jiva in this world of jivas, draws to itself the senses, and the mind as the sixth sense, abiding in Prakriti (15:7).
Every sentient being is rooted in Infinite Being and is in an incomprehensible way a part of that Being. Our presence is the Presence of God, however much we keep that divine aspect of ourselves covered up. At no time are we other than eternal beings free within God, but the dream of duality and delusion has overcome us. We think we are cut off from God because we have put on the costume of the material body with the five outer senses and the inner sense of the mind.
There are really two persons inhabiting each body: the individual spirit and the Supreme Spirit. Krishna keeps speaking of the Lord (Ishwara) so we will not lose sight of that fact, and also so we will realize that the Infinite Will is always in control, however the dream may seem otherwise.
When the Lord takes on a body, and when he leaves it, he takes the senses and the mind and goes, like the wind takes the scents from their seats, the flowers and herbs (15:8).
Nothing is really lost to us by death. We take all that matters with us, and we bring it back with us in the next birth to continue our evolutionary path. Each life affects us, and we take those influences along with us. Because they are so subtle they are symbolized as fragrances. But they are none the less real for that.
According to the Upanishads and the Gita, Ishwara lives in the heart, the core, of every human being, and experiences all which they experience. Therefore Krishna underlines that both the incarnating jivatman and the Paramatman enter and depart from the body together. The manner of this is incomprehensible.
Presiding over hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell as well as the mind, this Ishwara experiences the objects of the senses (15:9).
Both we and God are witnesses through the senses and mind of all our experiences as we incarnate in the many mansions of creation. We seem to undergo those experiences–which we do, but as in a dream. God experiences all that we do–this is a manifestation of our oneness with God. God knows it is a dream, but we do not and so we suffer.
Two kinds of human beings
Whether departing, remaining or enjoying, accompanied by the gunas, the deluded do not see him. Those with the eye of knowledge see him (15:10).
There are two basic divisions in this world: those that do not see God and those that do. And those that see God and their own Self never lose sight of those divine realities whether incarnate, dying, or experiencing the modes (gunas) of Prakriti. The others never see anything–but in time they will, for that is the destiny of all sentient beings.
Who sees God?
Who are those that see God? Not the merely religious or virtuous, for Krishna continues:
The yogis, striving, behold him dwelling within the Self; but the undeveloped and unintelligent, even though striving, see him not (15:11).
Only the adept yogis who have entered into their own spirit-consciousness beyond the tossing waves of samsara–including their own gross and subtle bodies–see God. And they do not see him outside themselves, but at the very core of their being, pervading their own consciousness.
Who does not see?
When the scriptures of authentic dharma speak of the ignorant and describe their dilemmas, it is never to condemn or despise them, but to inform us who seek to be wise. In this verse two words are used to describe those that cannot possibly see God, and they tell us much.
The first word is akritatmano, which means one who is unprepared and unperfected. Now this is important, for Krishna is not talking of bad or unworthy people, but of those who have not evolved sufficiently and therefore are unprepared for the Divine Vision–actually incapable of it. This is not a fault, but a stage on the way in which all but a fraction of sentient beings presently find themselves. But we are hereby told what we need: to prepare ourselves and strive to be more complete in mastery of our energy levels and more centered in the consciousness that we really are. We need to become steady practicers of yoga.
The other word is acetasah–the unthinking. This includes both those that are simply unaware and those that refuse to be aware. There are people that live heedlessly throughout life after life, never considering the deeper implications of their existence. Even though they have an intellectual belief in God, they do not live life in the perspective of that truth. Only those who ponder deeply on the eternal mystery of God, man, and life are open to understand and move onward from mere thinking about it to actually walking the Way.
Read the next article in the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening: The All-pervading Reality