We are approaching the end of the marvelous Bhagavad Gita. Krishna’s final words are now to be given to us who, like Arjuna, on the battlefield of life seek wisdom.
Thus has the knowledge that is more secret than all that is secret been expounded to you by me. Having reflected on this fully, act in the way you wish (18:63).
Nothing like this second sentence can be found in any other scripture of the world. This is why the Gita merits our highest valuation and our conformity to its glorious message. Krishna respects the free will of Arjuna and knows that ultimately it is all Arjuna’s decision. To interfere with that will by promises, threats, warnings, and cajolings will only produce a temporary conformity to Krishna’s words. Only when it arises from within Arjuna’s illumined understanding can he rightly engage in battle. Nor can we live the yoga life if it is not based on our own impulse to divine realization and our full awareness of all that it implies. Krishna tells Arjuna to give full consideration to what he has been told and then act–not out of faith in Krishna, respect for Krishna, or love for Krishna, but because he knows it is the truth, having understood it for himself. It is the same for us.
The secret of love
Hear again my highest teaching, most secret of all, because you are dearly loved by me; therefore I shall tell you what is for your good (18:64).
Krishna’s teachings are not sarvaguhyatamam–most secret of all–because God is hiding these truths from us, but because we, through our perverted intuition, are hiding them from ourselves! How many times have we heard people say: “Don’t tell me that!” about something they know is true? And we all grew up with: “What you don’t know won’t hurt you,” the idea being that what we don’t know will not obligate us. Wrong! For in the depths of our being we do know the truth, even if our whole life is a denial of it. That is why God says in the Bible: “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes” (Psalms 82:6-7). The Septuagint renders it: “But you die like men and are laid in the grave like animals.” It is our choice, but it is a conscious choice, at least on the inner levels where it counts.
We babble about love, love, love, but love is truth–truth that is loved. Only the saints really love, being one with the God who is love. And they are always truthful with us. Even more, they only love the true part of us and oppose the false part. They are never the friend of our ego, nor will they ever accommodate it. And they will not force or demand us to follow the right way. That is all in our hands. Yet they speak only for our welfare. Those who act otherwise are not holy but unholy, slaves of their own “sacred” egos, and uninterested in our genuine welfare.
Fix your mind on me, be devoted to me, sacrifice and bow down to me. In this way you shall truly come to me, for I promise you–you are dear to me (18:65).
Remember that the “me” of Krishna is both the Supreme Self (Paramatman) and the individual Self (jivatman). So we are devoted to Spirit and spirit. The word manmanas is rightly translated “fix your mind on me,” but it literally means “me-minded.” That is, our mind is to be a perfect reflection of Spirit, so that with Saint Paul we can say: “We have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16). “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). And Saint Peter said to the followers of Christ: “Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind” (I Peter 4:1).
Krishna and the Apostles speak like this because we are the divine Self: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). It is too bad that Christians do not believe the words of Saint Paul: “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6).
We must be Krishna-minded and Christ-minded, for that is to be God-minded. And we are dear (priya) to God.
Abandoning all duties, take refuge in me alone; then I shall free you from all demerits, do not grieve (18:66).
Everything must be the way to God to us. Even right action is not to be valued for itself, but because it leads to God. The same is true of all spiritual and material deeds. We must be able to say with Swami Sivananda: “Only God I saw!” Krishna does not mean that we need not follow the ways of dharma, only that we must keep looking at God and not at them as we follow them. God must be the sole purpose of our life, the sole means and the sole goal. This is “abandoning all duties” in God, as God, for God, “that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:28).
When our consciousness is so fixed on God, so merged in God that it becomes God, then all evils shall fall away like the shadows they are, and we shall live in the Light as that Light. Where then, shall grief be? Krishna brings up this subject because it was Arjuna’s grief that sparked the entire discourse. So we have come full circle with him.
Tell not this secret to…
This should not be spoken of by you at any time to one who is without tapasya, nor to one who is not dedicated, nor to one who does not desire to listen, nor to one who speaks evil of (mocks) me (18:67).
Two words here need a good look.
Ashushrushave means “one who does not desire to hear (listen)” and “the non-obedient.” This is both those who just do not want to be bothered and those who are not unaware of spiritual teaching but do not follow it, for whatever reason or excuse.
Abhyasuyati means “he speaks evil of,” “he shows indignation toward,” or “he sneers at.” That pretty well covers the reactions of negative people toward truth: they decry it as evil, unnatural, cultish, repressive, superstitious, harmful, scary, and suchlike. They love to say: “that frightens me” about anything they hate. They are righteously indignant about it for the previous reasons cited, as well as charging it with being false and a way to control others or profit from them. And they also sneer for the same reasons, as well as mocking and despising truth as stupid or worthless, backward, primitive, naive, simplistic, etc. They all entail rejection for one reason or another.
This implies that we must look carefully at a person before we waste our time. As Jesus said: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6). Before that Solomon said: “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (Proverbs 23:9). I am aware that good and true souls naturally assume that others are as interested and sincere as they, but after some experience they come to know differently. Experience is still the best teacher.
We must not waste time or degrade precious truth by speaking with unfit persons. We should just say something diplomatic or neutral and change the subject or leave.
It is obvious from this that Krishna would never countenance forcing wisdom on anyone, or trying to convert them or change their views.
On the other hand
He who with supreme devotion to me teaches this supreme secret unto my devotees shall doubtless come to me (18:68).
Abhidhasyati means to present and to explain. To teach the worthy is the highest devotion to God, for “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). Those who illumine the path of their worthy fellow-seekers shall themselves go unerringly to God.
And no one among all men shall do more pleasing service to me, nor shall there be another on the earth dearer to me than he. And he who will study this dharmic dialogue of ours, by him will I have been worshipped through the sacrifice of knowledge; such is my conviction. Even the man who hears this, full of faith and not scoffing, he also, liberated, shall attain the happy worlds of those of righteous deeds (18:69-71).
Let us take these words to heart. The Gita is an open door to the highest consciousness and life.
What will you do?
All the hearing in the world is pointless if it does not result in a resolve, in a conclusion of some sort. So Krishna asks Arjuna (and us):
Has this been heard by you with a one-pointed mind? Has the delusion of your ignorance been destroyed? (18:72).
There are those who listen with the ears on their head, but not the ears of their mind and heart. Krishna indicates here that those who truly listen with an intent mind will have their ignorance and delusion dispelled by their intelligent attention.
The right answer
Arjuna said: My delusion is destroyed, and I have regained my knowledge through your grace; I am firm and my doubts are gone. I will act according to your word (18:73).
No need to comment on this–just “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).
The narrator speaks
Sanjaya said: Thus have I heard this wondrous dialogue of Krishna and the great-souled Arjuna, which causes the hair to stand on end. By the grace of Vyasa have I heard this supreme and most secret yoga directly from Krishna, Yoga’s Lord, himself declaring it. O King, remembering again and again this marvelous dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again. And remembering again and again that most marvelous form of Krishna, great is my wonder, O King, and I rejoice again and again (18:74-77).
If we, too, will remember again and again, without ceasing, this supreme scripture of enlightenment, wondering at the wisdom-grace of Krishna and the readiness of Arjuna to follow the Way pointed out to him, then we will join our voices with Sanjaya’s and say with total certainty and understanding:
Wherever there is Krishna, Yoga’s Lord, wherever is Arjuna the bowman, there will forever be splendor, victory, wealth and righteousness: this is my conviction (18:78).
OM. Peace. Peace. Peace.