We are approaching the end of the marvelous Bhagavad Gita. Krishna’s final words are now to be given to us who, like Arjuna, sit on the battlefield of life seeking wisdom.
“Thus the knowledge that is more secret than all that is secret has been expounded to you by Me. Having reflected on this fully, do as you please” (18:63). Nothing like this second sentence cannot be found in any other scripture of the world. This is why the Gita merits our highest valuation and 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 reasonings, 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 for himself. It is the same for us.
The secret of love
“Hear again My supreme word, most secret of all. You are surely loved by Me; therefore I shall speak 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–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, worshipping Me, sacrificing to Me, bowing down to Me; in this way you shall come truly to Me, I promise, for 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 “with mind fixed 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 of the Christian warrior: “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-mind, Christ-minded, for that is to be God-minded. And we are dear (priya) to God.
“Abandoning all duties, take refuge in Me alone. I shall liberate you from all evils; do not grieve” (18:66).
Everything must be 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 dharmas” 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 shall not be spoken of by you to one who is without austerity [tapasya], nor to one who is without devotion [bhakti], nor to one who does not desire to listen, nor to one who speaks evil of 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”); 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 encounters with such people they 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 shall teach this supreme secret to My devotees, having performed the highest devotion to Me, shall come to Me, without doubt” (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 men shall do more pleasing service to Me than he, and no other on earth shall be dearer to me. And he who shall study this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I shall have been worshipped with the wisdom sacrifice [jnanayajnena]; such is my conviction. Even the man who hears it with faith and free from rejection, he also, liberated, shall attain the happy worlds of those whose actions are pure” (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 concentrated mind? Have your ignorance and delusion 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 gained wisdom through your grace, Krishna. My doubts are gone. I shall do as You command” (18:73). No need to comment on this–just “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).
The narrator speaks
“Sanjaya said: Thus I have heard from Krishna and the great-souled Arjuna, this wondrous dialogue which causes the hair to stand on end. By the grace of Vyasa I have heard this supreme and most secret yoga which Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, has divulged directly, speaking Himself. O King, remembering again and again this marvelous and holy dialogue of Krishna and Arjuna, I rejoice again and again. And remembering again and again that marvelous form of Krishna, my amazement is great, 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, and intending to embody them in our own lives, then we will join our voices with Sanjaya’s and say with total certainty and understanding:
“Wherever there is Krishna, Lord of Yoga,
Wherever there is Arjuna, the archer,
There will surely be splendor, victory,
Wealth, and righteousness;
This is my conviction.”
OM. Peace. Peace. Peace.
Bhagavad Gita for Awakening links:
- The Battlefield of the Mind
- On the Field of Dharma
- Taking Stock
- The Smile of Krishna
- Birth and Death–The Great Illusions
- Experiencing the Unreal
- The Unreal and the Real
- The Body and the Spirit
- Know the Atman!
- Practical Self-Knowledge
- Perspective on Birth and Death
- The Wonder of the Atman
- The Indestructible Self
- “Happy the Warrior”
- Buddhi Yoga
- Religiosity Versus Religion
- Perspective on Scriptures
- How Not To Act
- How To Act
- Right Perspective
- Wisdom About the Wise
- Wisdom About Both the Foolish and the Wise
- The Way of Peace
- Calming the Storm
- First Steps in Karma Yoga
- From the Beginning to the End
- The Real “Doers”
- Our Spiritual Marching Orders
- Freedom From Karma
- In the Grip of the Monster
- Devotee and Friend
- The Eternal Being
- The Path
- Caste and Karma
- Action–Divine and Human
- The Mystery of Action and Inaction
- The Wise in Action
- Sacrificial Offerings
- The Worship of Brahman
- Action–Renounced and Performed
- Freedom (Moksha)
- The Brahman-Knower
- The Goal of Karma Yoga
- Getting There
- The Yogi’s Retreat
- The Yogi’s Inner and Outer Life
- Union With Brahman
- The Yogi’s Future
- Success in Yoga
- The Net and Its Weaver
- Those Who Seek God
- Those Who Worship God and the Gods
- The Veil in the Mind
- The Big Picture
- The Sure Way To Realize God
- Day, Night, and the Two Paths
- The Supreme Knowledge
- Universal Being
- Maya–Its Dupes and Its Knowers
- Worshipping the One
- Going To God
- Wisdom and Knowing
- Going To The Source
- From Hearing To Seeing
- The Wisdom of Devotion
- Right Conduct
- The Field and Its Knower
- Interaction of Purusha and Prakriti
- Seeing the One Within the All
- The Three Gunas
- The Cosmic Tree
- The All-pervading Reality
- The Divine and the Demonic
- Faith and the Three Gunas
- Food and the Three Gunas
- Religion and the Three Gunas
- Tapasya and the Three Gunas
- Charity and the Three Gunas
- Sannyasa and Tyaga
- Deeper Insights On Action
- Knowledge, Action, Doer, and the Three Gunas
- The Three Gunas: Intellect and Firmness
- The Three Kinds of Happiness
- The Great Devotee
- The Final Words
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Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita.
Read The Bhagavad Gita (arranged in verses for singing) by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).
Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary