Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 7 (Part-1) Jnaana Vijnaana Yogah- Yoga of Knowledge and Wisdom


The  following are the four Mahavakyas (Great Truths) taken out from each of  the four Vedas all indicating the same Truth.


We  have seen earlier that the eighteen chapters of Gita can be divided into 3 sets  of 6 Chapters each explaining the Truth of the Mahavakya - `You Are That'. This  sentence summarizes the entire Vedic law and philosophy.  The first 6 Chapters of Gita explain the  significance of the term `You' (Twam). The next 6 Chapters from the 7th to 12th  explain the term `That' (Tat). The last 6 Chapters give the meaning of the term  `Are' (Asi) and explain the message of the entire Mahavakya i.e. how the  individual can blend with Parabrahman or attain Liberation. This Division does  not mean any compartmentalization but implies a close relationship between the  verses as also a logical thoughtflow from one Chapter to another.

Sri  Krishna ended the previous Chapter by describing the supreme yogi as one who,  with his inmost self abiding in Him, adores the Lord. We were told about the  technique of meditation for obtaining Self-Realization and that a meditator is  superior to a Tapasvi or Gnani. It declared that the one who has successfully  merged his mind in the nature of Pure Consciousness through single-pointed  meditation is the highest and the dearest to The Lord.

Arjuna  still doubts how a limited and mortal mind and intellect of a finite entity  like man could ever understand the limitless Infinite with all its virtues and  glory. Sri Krishna therefore clarifies this doubt in this Chapter by describing  the nature of the Lord Himself, who is the point of concentration of the yogi’s  unwavering devotion.

Sri  Krishna uses the first person singular pronoun ‘ME’ to mean the  supreme Reality or brahman or God. He tells Arjuna that the supreme Godhead has to be realized  in both its transcendent and immanent aspects. The Yogi who has reached this  summit has nothing more to know.

This  complete union with the Lord is difficult of attainment. Among many thousands  of human beings, very few aspire for this union, and even among those who  aspire for it, few ever reach the pinnacle of spiritual realization.

The  Lord gives a clear description of the all-pervading static and infinite state  of His Being. He then proceeds to explain His manifestations as the universe  and the power behind it.

He  speaks of these manifestations as His lower and higher Prakritis. The lower  Prakriti is made up of the five elements, mind, ego and intellect. The higher  Prakriti is the life-element which upholds the universe, activates it and  causes its appearance and final dissolution.

Krishna says that whatever exists is nothing but Himself. He is  the cause of the appearance of the universe and all things in it. Everything is  strung on Him like clusters of gems on a string. He is the essence, substance  and substratum of everything, whether visible or invisible. Although everything  is in Him, yet He transcends everything as the actionless Self.

Prakriti  or nature is made up of the three Gunas or qualities—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.  These three qualities delude the soul and make it forget its true nature, which  is one with God. This delusion, termed Maya, can only be removed by the Grace  of the Lord Himself.

‘Jnana’ means consummate knowledge of the formless and  attributeless aspect of the Lord. ‘Vijnana’ means experiencing that knowledge.  Awareness of the Lord comprises of both such knowledge and experience. The  present Chapter deals with such Integral Divinity and with practices which lead  to its knowledge and the fortunate souls who possess such knowledge. In simple  terms the Chapter tells us about 
•the concept of God or Brahman or Soul 
•examples of manifestation of God in the universe and  
•how to perceive God within oneself.

It is therefore named as ‘The Yoga of Jnana and Vijnana’

The  Text

sri bhagavaan uvaacha
    mayyaasaktamanaah paartha yogam  yunjanmadaashrayah
    asamshayam samagram maam yathaa  jnaasyasi tacchrinu // 7.1 //

Sri  Bhagavan said
    Hear,  O Partha, how, with your mind intent on Me, and taking refuge in Me and  practicing Yoga, you will without doubt know Me in full.

A  Yogi’s mind is attached to the Lord alone setting aside all the disciplines and  worships the Lord with complete concentration. The Lord alone is the whole basis  of the yogi’s being and the goal of his action. Practicing yoga means being  united with the Lord in contemplation. Knowing the Lord in full implies knowing  all His six attributes viz., infinite greatness, strength, power, grace,  knowledge and detachment. As Arjuna has the necessary qualifications, Sri  Krishna assures that He will give him a complete or integral knowledge of the  Divine, not merely the Pure Self but also its manifestations in the world.

jnaanam te'ham savijnaanam idam  vakshyaamyasheshatah
    yajjnaatwaa neha bhooyo'nyaj  jnaatavyamavashishyate // 7.2 //

I  shall teach you in full both knowledge and experience, which having been known,  nothing more remains to be known by you.
  Jnana  means knowledge, the direct spiritual illumination and Vijnana is the detailed  rational knowledge of the principles of existence. We must have not merely the  knowledge of the relationless Absolute but also of its varied manifestations.

The  awareness that the Lord exists and that He is the inmost spirit of all is knowledge.  This knowledge can be acquired by study of the scriptures, and reasoning about  their contents. But to realize the Lord in oneself and in all other beings and  to act according to that realization is experience, vijnana. For  example, to know that one can obtain fire from wood is knowledge. But to kindle  fire in the wood and feel its heat and light in a dark winter night is  experience, Vijnana. In Hinduism knowledge of God is inseparable from  experience.

Because  the Lord is everything, when He is fully known everything else is automatically  known. The Lord as Sat-chit-ananda (existence-knowledge-bliss absolute)  forms the real essence of all objects. Names and forms are mere illusory  superimposition.

manushyaanaam sahasreshu kaschidyatati  siddhaye
    yatataamapi siddhaanaam kaschinmaam  vetti tattwatah // 7.3 //

Among  thousands of people, one by chance aspires for perfection; even among those  successful aspirants, one by chance knows Me in essence.

The  question why the Self-Realized masters are so rare and why such a realization  is not within the reach of everyone is answered.

‘Knowing  Me in essence’ - The Being of the Lord and His diverse manifestations are  incomprehensible to the human mind. He is the Impersonal Reality, the Personal  God, and many other things besides. Of all living beings on earth, man alone  can inquire about his self and its relationship with the Lord. Among  innumerable human beings, only a few develop a desire for such an inquiry.  Among those who show such desire, only a few know the means of attaining  knowledge and strive after it. Among those who strive, only a fortunate few  succeed in acquiring the true knowledge of the Lord. Hence knowledge of God is  rare on this earth.

Thus  far Arjuna has been taught the highest form of devotion, which leads to union  with God in its static aspect as also with His dynamic Prakriti. Krishna tells him that there are also other forms of  devotion which are inferior as they are performed with various motives. The  distressed, the seeker of divine wisdom, and he who desires wealth, worship  Him, as also the wise. Of these the Lord deems the wise as dearest to Him. Such  a devotee loves the Lord for the sake of pure love alone. Whatever form the  devotee worships, the ultimate goal is the Lord Himself. The Lord accepts such  worship, knowing that it is directed to Him only.

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