śrī bhagavān uvāca –
mayy-āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu
O Pārtha, in the first six chapters I spoke about niṣkāma-karma-yoga through which one’s antaḥkāraṇa (internal senses) is purified, as well as jñāna and yoga which results in mokṣa. Listen as I discuss bhakti-yoga in the second six chapters. There is no doubt that if you constantly take shelter of this yoga and practice it with your mind and heart attached to Me, you will gain complete knowledge relating to Me. Knowledge of Brahman is not complete because it is not knowledge concerning viśeṣa (transcendental qualities). By rejecting material attributes one may achieve a concept of nirviśeṣa (considering the Supreme to be without qualities); contemplating that impersonal concept gives rise to the manifestation of my qualitiless aspect of Brahman. That concept is not nirguṇa (without any mundane qualities) because it is simply knowledge of the mode of goodness (sattvika-jñāna) which is beyond the material body. Bhakti is a specific activity which is nirguṇa and by following it, those jīvas with nirguṇa eyes are able to perceive My nirgūna-svarūpa (form which is beyond the modes of nature).
jñānaṁ te’haṁ sa-vijñānam idaṁ vakṣyāmy-aśeṣataḥ
yaj-jñātvā neha bhūyo’nyaj jñātavyam avaśiṣyate
All knowledge concerning Me which is acquired by My devotees prior to their attachment to Me is in relation to My opulence (aiśvaryamaya) – thus it is called jñāna (theoretical knowledge). After attaining attachment to Me, the confidential knowledge they achieve is in relation to sweetness (mādhuryamaya). That is called vijñāna (realised knowledge). Please listen – I am teaching you complete jñāna with vijñana. Being acquainted with this, there is nothing left to know in this world.
manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
The jñānīs and yogīs mentioned in the previous six chapters can easily attain knowledge of Brahman through contemplating all these things. However, knowledge of Bhagavān is rare for them since it is a different object of contemplation. Amongst innumerable jīvas, occasionally one may become a human being. Amongst thousands and thousands of human beings, someone may endeavour for auspiciousness and perfection. Amongst thousands and thousands of those who endeavour, some may comprehend the tattva of My intrinsic form as Bhagavān.
bhūmir āpo’nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhireva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
apareyam itas tvanyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
Knowledge of Bhagavān’s intrinsic form and opulence is known as bhagavat-jñāna. This is described in this way: I am a specific tattva who always possesses form and is endowed with potency. Brahman is simply the non-differentiated aspect that appears via My potency. It has no form. It is a relational state distinct from the concepts found within the created universe. Paramātmā is also My specific manifestation which appears via My potency within this mundane world. As a result, He is a specific tattva connected to the temporary universe. He does not have an eternal form.* My form as Bhagavān is eternal. Two of My potencies are acquainted with it. One potency is identified by the name bahiraṅgā (external) or the māyā-śakti. It is known as jaḍa-jananī (the mother of matter), and is called the aparā-śakti. You will notice eight tattvas amongst My aparā or materially related potencies. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five great elements (mahā-bhūta), and sound, touch, form, taste and fragrance are the five concomitant sense-objects (tan-mātras). These ten principles should be understood in this way. Within ahaṅkāra-tattva (the principle of false ego), all the senses which are its effects (kārya-bhūta) and the Mahat-tattva which is its cause (kāraṇa-bhūta) are understood. The distinction between intelligence and mind is only according to tattva. They have different functions according to their predominance – in effect they are actually one tattva. All these stem from My bahiraṅga-śakti.
Apart from this, there is My marginal potency (taṭastha-prakṛti) which can be referred to as parā–prakṛti. This potency has a conscious nature (cetana-svarūpa) and consists of the jīvas. All the jīvas flow from this potency and are conspicuous in this material universe due to their consciousness. The spiritual world emanates from My antaraṅga-śakti, and the bahiraṅga-śakti gives rise to the material world. Because they are conformable to both worlds, the jīva-śakti is known as the taṭastha-śakti.
* Translator’s Note: Paramātmā is not eternal in the sense that He is only present within the hearts of the jīvas while they reside within a physical form in the mundane world – Paramātmā is absent from the spiritual world.
etad yonīni bhūtāni sarvāṇīty-upadhāraya
ahaṁ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayas tathā
The world of matter and taṭastha, which are acit (mundane) and cit (spiritual) emanate from these two potencies. Therefore, I, in the form of Bhagavān, am the root-cause of the origin and annihilation of all worlds.
mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya
mayi sarvam idaṁ protaṁ sūtre maṇi-gaṇā iva
O Dhanañjaya! There is no one who is superior to Me. Just as gems are strung upon a thread, all the worlds are strung together, residing within Me.
raso’ham apsu kaunteya prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ
praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu
puṇyo gandhaḥ pṛthivyāṁ ca tejaś cāsmi vibhāvasau
jīvanaṁ sarva-bhūteṣu tapaś cāsmi tapasviṣu
bījaṁ māṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ viddhi pārtha sanātanam
buddhir buddhimatām asmi tejas tejasvinām aham
balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ kāma-rāga-vivarjitam
dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu kāmo’smi bharatarṣabha
O Kaunteya! I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and moon, the praṇava within all the Vedas, the sound within space, the courage within man, the fragrance of the earth, the effulgence of the sun, the life within all creatures, the austerity of the tapasvīs, the eternal seed within all beings, the intelligence of the wise, the might of the powerful, the strength of the strong, that desire which is not opposed to dharma, and I am that inherent principle which is bereft of desire and attachment.
ye caiva sāttvikā bhāvā rājasās tāmasāś ca ye
matta eveti tān viddhi na tvahaṁ teṣu te mayi
All states of sattva, raja and tama stem from the effects produced by the attributes of My potency. I am free from all those guṇas. They are all under My control.
tribhir guṇamayair bhāvair ebhiḥ sarvam idaṁ jagat
mohitaṁ nābhijānāti mām ebhyaḥ param-avyayam
My aparā-prakṛti possesses the three qualities of sattva, raja and tama. The entire world is enchanted by these three guṇas. Thus, people cannot understand My imperishable nature which is independent of all these qualities.
daivī hy-eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā
māmeva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te
This māyā is My potency, therefore it is naturally difficult for the weak jīva to overcome it, in other words, it is duratikramā (insurmountable). Only those who surrender unto My bhagavat-svarūpa (divine nature) can cross beyond this ocean of māyā.
na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ
māyayāpahṛta jñānā āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
Upon taking shelter of asura-bhāva(a demonic mentality), the duṣkṛta (wicked), mūḍha (foolish), narādhama (most fallen amongst men) and those whose intelligence is eclipsed by māyā do not accept submission unto Me. The life of persons who are duṣkṛta is totally against the Vedas. Persons who are mūḍhas are moral atheists – this is because they do not take refuge in Me, the original Lord of morality. Those who accept Me as a limb of morality, but do not accept Me as the Lord of morality, they are narādhama. Those who worship Īśa (Śiva), Brahmā etc., but do not know that I am the possessor of potencies, that the jīva possesses an eternal transcendental nature, that they have a temporary relative nature with material objects, and that they are My eternal servants. They do not know anything in relation to that nature even though they study the Vedānta-śāstra etc. because they are covered over by māyā.
catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ sukṛtino’rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
My worship is almost impossible for those persons who are duṣkṛta because they have no process for elevation. Amongst them, through a sudden method, some may occasionally attain the worship of Me. Amongst those persons with sukṛti that live a life of regulation, four kinds of persons are worthy of worshiping Me. Those who engage in kāmya-karma (actions with selfish intent) remember Me when they are effected by miseries. They are ārta (distressed). Sometimes those persons who are duṣkṛta also remember Me when they are in distress. The aforementioned mūḍha moralists, by inquiring about spiritual principles (tattva-jijñāsā), gradually comprehends the necessity of a Supreme and eventually remember Me through inquisitiveness. When the aforementioned narādhamas are not satisfied with a divinity within morality, then they can understand the Supreme Lord of morality. Then they become vaidhi-bhaktas (devotees who follow the rules of śāstra) and they remember Me when they are in need of wealth. When he recognises that knowledge of Brahman and Paramātmā is incomplete and he takes complete refuge in pure bhagavad-jñāna (knowledge pertaining to the personal feature of the Supreme), then a person whose knowledge is eclipsed by māyā is able to remove māyā’s covering and that jīva acknowledges his status as bhagavat-svarūpa-nitya-dāsa (an eternal servant of the intrinsic form of Bhagavān).
As a result, the desires of those who are in distress, the mediocre moral knowledge of the inquisitive, the meagre hopes of the desirer of wealth to attain higher realms such as Svarga, and the desire of the jñānī to merge into Brahman and his thinking that the form of Bhagavān is temporary – such contaminations are reduced. These four kinds of jīvas can become eligible for bhakti. As long as contaminations remain, all such persons are engaged in pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti (bhakti which is combined with other processes). If such contaminations are removed, then they achieve kevalā, akiñcanā or uttamā–bhakti.
teṣāṁ jñānī nitya-yukta eka-bhaktir viśiṣyate
priyo hi jñānino’tyartham ahaṁ sa ca mama priyaḥ
When contamination is absent in those in distress, the inquisitive, the desirer of wealth and the jñānī then they achieve bhakti for Me. But amongst them, those persons who are jñānīs who reject the contamination of jñāna, attain pure jñāna, and perform bhakti-yoga, gain superiority over the other three types of devotees. The meaning of this is that naturally, by practicing jñāna, the nature of the conscious jīva becomes purified according to the extent that he attains his svarūpa. Even if the karmī is free from contamination, he does not become as pure as those established in their svarūpa. Gradually, by the association of devotees, everyone is elevated to being situated in the attainment of their svarūpa. Amongst the four types of eligible candidates in the stage of sādhana, a jñānī who has bhakti is a devotee. He is My pure servant and he is extremely dear to Me. Śrī Śukadeva and others are examples of those within whom bhagavad–jñāna manifested. During the period of sādhana, the service rendered to Bhagavān by those devotees who have attained pure jñāna is pure and transcendental. Any trace of mundanity cannot enter them.
udārāḥ sarva evaite jñānī tvātmaiva me matam
āsthitaḥ sa hi yuktātmā mām evānuttamāṁ gatim
Accepting exclusive bhakti, the aforementioned four types of eligible candidates are all extremely generous. However, the jñānī-bhakta’s steadfastness in the ātmā, in other words his stability in consciousness is stronger. He is situated in Me who is the highest objective, the personification of the aim of consciousness. He is most dear to Me. He subdues Me to the highest extent.
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
All jīvas, after many births performing sādhana, achieve jñāna – in other words, they attain stability in consciousness. When they are steady in consciousness, to a certain extent they initially take support from the non-dual conception and at that time, they reject matter. Then they develop disgust towards material attributes and become indifferent towards their inherent functions. Once they are somewhat situated in the function of consciousness, they can comprehend the pure inherent characteristics of consciousness and become attached to it. Becoming attached, they accept submission unto Me, the Supreme Form of consciousness. Then they realise that this material realm is not independent. It is simply a contemptible reflection of the Supreme Consciousness which is related to Vāsudeva. Therefore everything consists of Vāsudeva. Those who surrender unto Bhagavān in this way are great souls and are rare.
kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante’nya-devatāḥ
taṁ taṁ niyamam āsthāya prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā
Those persons who are in distress etc. becoming relieved of their contamination, engage in bhakti unto Me. Until their contamination in the form of desires departs, they are considered to be bahirmukha (averse to Me) by nature. Although they harbour mundane desires, those who take shelter of My nature do not give refuge to the bahirmukha mentality. Within a very short time, I remove their desires. However, those who are averse to Me, who become deprived of knowledge due to mundane desire, worship Devatās who award them the results of their desires, in order to achieve quick results. They do not love Me, who has a form of viśuddha-sattva (transcendental goodness). This is because, driven by their own tāmasika and rājasika natures, they engage in the worship of various Devatās, and observe trivial rules.
yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥ śraddhayārchitum icchati
tasya tasyācalāṁ śraddhāṁ tām eva vidadhāmy-aham
In My form as the indwelling monitor (antaryāmī), I award them firm faith in such Devas whose forms they wish to worship with reverence.
sa tayā śraddhayā yuktas tasyārādhanam īhate
labhate ca tataḥ kāmān mayaiva vihitān hi tān
They worship such Devatās with faith, and achieve all they desire from those Devatās, which is actually supplied by Me.
antavat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ tad bhavaty-alpa-medhasām
devān deva-yajo yānti mad bhaktā yānti mām api
The results achieved by the less intelligent devotees of the Devatās is perishable, in other words it is transitory. This is because those who worship the Devas attain temporary Devatās who are eventually annihilated. Even if My devotees worship Me with desires, they attain Me who is the eternal goal personified
avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ manyante mām abuddhayaḥ
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mamāvyayam anuttamam
Those who consider the impersonal conception to be superior conclude that My nature is unmanifest and without attributes and that I manifest a form for some particular function. No matter how much they discuss the Vedānta-śāstra, they are still ignorant, because they are unacquainted with My supreme, inexhaustible, super-excellent nature which is fully endowed with eternal attributes.
nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ
mūḍho’yaṁ nābhijānāti loko mām ajam avyayam
Do not think that I was unmanifest and now I have manifest as the form of Śyāmasundara who is of the nature of saccidānanda. My intrinsic form as Śyāmasundara is eternal. Although, like the sun in the spiritual realm, it is self-effulgent, it remains concealed from ordinary eyes by a shadow created by Yogamāyā. Due to this, foolish persons cannot perceive Me, who possesses an imperishable nature and form.
vedāhaṁ samatītāni vartamānāni cārjuna
bhaviṣyāṇi ca bhūtāni māṁ tu veda na kaścana
With a form of eternal saccidānanda, I know of all things and affairs past and present, and I am cognisant of whatever will occur in the future. O Arjuna! Although they may be aware of My manifestation as both Brahman and Paramātmā, those persons who are bound by māyā are completely unaware that my immortal form of Śyāmasundara, which is of a medium size, is also eternal.
icchā-dveṣa samutthena dvandva-mohena bhārata
sarva-bhūtāni saṁmohaṁ sarge yānti parantapa
The reason for this is that when the jīva is pure, he sees this eternal form of Mine through his spiritual senses. When they are bound and present within this creation, all are bewildered by the duality of desire and hatred due to the influence of ignorance. Then proper perception through knowledge does not remain. Through the power of my spiritual potency, My eternal intrinsic form has appeared in the physical world and it has become visible to mundane eyes. However, being covered by māyā, they consider My own intrinsic form to be temporary due to their having attained an understanding devoid of proper knowledge. This is said to be their misfortune.
yeṣāṁ tvanta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
Listen to how one achieves the eligibility to attain a proper perception through knowledge of My eternal form. Those persons who are overburdened with pāpa and have a demonic nature never have proper perception through knowledge. Those who have accepted to live life according to dharma and have fully stopped committing pāpa in their lives by engaging in many pious acts, initially accept karma-yoga, then later jñāna and finally, by dhyāna-yoga they gradually comprehend My transcendental Reality through samādhi. They can eventually perceive my eternal form with a proper perception through knowledge. Perception produced by ignorance is called avidvat-pratīti (perception through ignorance). Through knowledge, perception arises. This is vidvat-pratīti (perception through knowledge). They eventually become free from the duality of dvaita (dualism) and advaita (non-dualism) and worship Me with firm resolve.
jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya mām āśritya yatanti ye
te brahma tad viduḥ kṛtsnam adhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam
sādhibhūtādhidaivaṁ māṁ sādhiyajñaṁ ca ye viduḥ
prayāṇa-kāle’pi ca māṁ te vidur yukta-cetasaḥ
Old age and death occurs in the physical body. There is no death in the eternal body of the jīva. When one obtains a spiritual body then one achieves the eternal nature of being My eternal servant – this is called mokṣa (liberation). The endeavours of those that search for liberation from old age and death through sādhana-bhakti to Me are perfect. Brahma-tattva (the principle of the Supreme) adhyātma-tattva (the principle of the ātmā), akhila-karma-tattva (the principle concerning all types of actions), adhibhūta-tattva (the principle concerning the Lord who is the Controller of all beings), adhidaiva-tattva (the principle concerning the Lord who presides over the Devatās) and adhiyajña-tattva (the principle concerning the Lord who is the recipient of all sacrifices) – these six principles are easily understood by persons whose consciousness is thus engaged. They can know Me at the time of death.
Thus ends Chapter Seven entitled Jñāna-Vijñāna Yoga from the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in the Upaniṣad known as Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, the yoga-śāstra of divine knowledge, from the Bhīṣma-parva of Mahābhārata, the literature revealed by Vyāsa in one hundred thousand verses.
Thus ends the translation and commentary of the Seventh chapter