śrī bhagavān uvāca –
bhūya eva mahā-bāho śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
yat te’haṁ prīyamāṇāya vakṣyāmi hita-kāmyayā
(The Lord said:) O Mahā-bāho! You have prema. Desiring your welfare, I will speak in detail concerning what I explained previously. Listen to this again with concentration.
na me viduḥ sura-gaṇāḥ prabhavaṁ na maharṣayaḥ
aham ādir hi devānāṁ maharṣīṇāṁ ca sarvaśaḥ
I am the original cause of the Devatās and great ṛṣis, therefore these Devatās and great ṛṣis cannot comprehend the glories of My līlā, in other words, how I manifest within the physical world with a human nature. The Devatās and great ṛṣis all seek the truth about Me through the power of their own intellect. Endeavouring with their mundane intelligence, to a certain extent they perceive the Supreme Truth (parama-tattva) to be the dry Brahman – unmanifest, indistinct, devoid of qualities, without any form and opposite to the physical world. However, that is not the Supreme Truth. I myself am the Supreme Truth with an intrinsic eternal form and nature which is sac-cid-ānanda, and I am always self-manifested by the potency of the acintya-śakti, possessing faultless attributes. My manifest form within My aparā-śakti (inferior potency) manifests as Īśvara. That which is beyond the thought of bound jīvas who are bound by the aparā-śakti, is Brahman, My indistinct form. Therefore, Īśvara, or Paramātmā and Brahman, are My two direct manifestations that are perceived as being connected with created elements, and devoid of the association of created elements. I Myself sometimes appear in My intrinsic nature in the physical world through My acintya-śakti. Then the Devatās and great ṛṣis who possess the potency of higher intellect cannot understand the power of My acintya-śakti. Being bewildered by māyā, they consider the appearance of My intrinsic nature to be īśvara-tattva. * Also considering Brahman to be best, they seek to merge themselves within that. However, knowing that the acintya-śakti is not easy to comprehend through finite knowledge, all My devotees cultivate bhakti to Me. Thereupon, being merciful, I give them realisation of My inherent nature through natural knowledge.
* Translator’s Note: Here, īśvara-tattva refers to the aspect of Paramātmā.
yo mām ajam anādiṁ ca vetti loka-maheśvaram
asammūḍhaḥ sa martyeṣu sarva-pāpaiḥ pramucyate
One who knows Me as the Great Controller of all worlds who has no beginning, in other words, who by My mercy, knows the full supremacy and eternality of My nature which is full of consciousness, knowledge and bliss, is freed from all pāpa – in other words, impure thoughts, stemming from malefic mundane intelligence.
buddhir jñānam asaṁmohaḥ kṣamā satyaṁ damaḥ śamaḥ
sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ bhavo’bhāvo bhayaṁ cābhayam eva ca
ahiṁsā samatā tuṣṭis tapo dānaṁ yaśo’yaśaḥ
bhavanti bhāvā bhūtānāṁ matta eva pṛthag-vidhāḥ
Men who are knowledgeable in the śāstra cannot understand the truth about Me by their intelligence, and the reason is this – intelligence which is the ability to comprehend subtle explanations, knowledge to distinguish what is ātmā and what is not ātmā, freedom from bewilderment, forgiveness, truth, sense-control, control of the mind, happiness and distress, birth, death, non-violence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy – these are the conditions of all creatures. I am the original cause of all these, but I am separate from them. If you understand the truth about acintya–bhedābheda (inconceivable oneness and difference) then nothing else remains to be known. Just as the potency (śakti) and the possessor of potency (śaktimān) are identical, similarly, as the possessor of potency, I am eternally different and non-different from the universe which is comprised of all elements and conditions that are produced by My potency.
maharṣayaḥ sapta pūrve catvāro manavas tathā
mad bhāvā mānasā jātā yeṣāṁ loka imāḥ prajāḥ
The Seven Sages led by Marīci etc., The four Kumāras headed by Sanaka etc. who are the first-born sons of Brahmā, and the fourteen Manus such as Svāyambhūva all took birth from Hiraṇyagarbha, who appeared from My potency. This world became filled with their descendants or disciples.
etāṁ vibhūtiṁ yogaṁ ca mama yo vetti tattvataḥ
so’vikampena yogena yujyate nātra saṁśayaḥ
The highest limit of knowledge of the Absolute Truth, which is knowledge of My intrinsic nature and knowledge concerning My opulences which appear from My potency, as well as knowing bhakti–yoga which is the highest limit of kriyā-yoga – one who can understand the truth concerning these two subjects is avikalpa (devoid of doubt), in other words, they are without duality and engaged in yoga.
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ
Know Me to be the origin of all things that are aprākṛta (spiritual) and prākṛta (material). Those who know this and worship Me, in other words, engage in bhajana of Me with pure bhakti, are wise. All others are foolish.
mac-cittā mad gata-prāṇā bodhayantaḥ parasparam
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca
Such is the character of the exclusive devotee (ananya-bhakta) – they completely offer their hearts and life unto Me, they exchange loving feelings (bhāva) with each other, and they engage in speaking hari-kathā. In this way, through hearing and chanting at the stage of sādhana, they achieve bliss in bhakti and, at the stage of sādhya, in other words, having attained the stage of prema, they achieve enjoyment and union with Me (sambhoga) on the path of rāga in madhura-rasa, taking refuge in vraja-rasa, the mellows of Vraja.
teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te
For those who worship Me with love through eternal bhakti-yoga, I grant them a connection to pure prema which arises from pure knowledge. By that they achieve My supremely blissful abode.
teṣām evānukampārtham aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy-ātma-bhāvastho jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā
Ignorance cannot remain with those who engage in bhakti-yoga. It arises in the minds of many that those who give up the unreal and seek that which is real achieve real knowledge. If one only cultivates bhakti-bhāva, how can one attain such this rare knowledge. O Arjuna! The main point is that through cultivation of his own intellect, a finite jīva can never gain infinite knowledge of true Reality. No matter how much he deliberates, he will never achieve pure knowledge. Yet if I am compassionate, then the finite jīva easily attains proper knowledge by the power of My acintya-śakti. Those who are My exclusive devotees easily situate Me within their intelligence and become enlightened by My remarkable lamp of knowledge. Out of My special compassion, I become situated within their hearts and I totally eradicate the darkness of ignorance which is born from association with matter. The eligibility of a jīva for that pure knowledge only arises by the cultivation of bhakti. It is not achieved by logic or argument.
arjuna uvāca –
paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve devarṣir nāradas tathā
asito devalo vyāsaḥ svayaṁ caiva bravīṣi me
After hearing the five ślokas which are the essence of the Gītā-śāstra, in order to understand more on this topic, Arjuna Mahāśaya asked, “O Bhagavān! Ṛṣis such as Devarṣi Nārada, Asita, Devala, Vyāsa etc. as well as You Yourself have established that You possess a nature of sac-cid-ānanda, and that You are the Supreme Absolute (param-brahma) endowed with the highest nature (parama-svarūpa), supremely pure (parama-pavitra), the Supreme Person (parama-puruṣa), eternal (nitya), the original Divinity (ādi-deva), unborn (aja) and infinite (vibhu).
sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yan māṁ vadasi keśava
na hi te bhagavan vyaktiṁ vidur devā na dānavāḥ
O Keśava! I believe all this to be true. Amongst the Devas and the Dānavas, no one knows the truth concerning Your inconceivable Self.
svayam evātmanātmānaṁ vettha tvaṁ puruṣottama
bhūta-bhāvana bhūteśa deva-deva jagat-pate
O Creator of all living entities (bhūta-bhāvana), O Lord of all beings (bhūteśa), O Lord of the universe (jagat-pati), O Supreme Person (puruṣottama), only You are aware of Your own reality by Your cit-śakti. No one can comprehend that eternal form which was there before the creation of the universe. In what way that sac-cid-ānanda form manifests within matter and is independent of material laws – this cannot be understood by human logic nor the logic of the Devas. Only one whom You have bestowed Your mercy upon can understand this.
vaktum arhasy-aśeṣeṇa divyā hy-ātma-vibhūtayaḥ
yābhir vibhūtibhir lokān imāṁs tvaṁ vyāpya tiṣṭhasi
By Your mercy I can perceive Your form appearing in my heart and before My eyes. I have become satisfied by this. However, you pervade all the worlds through Your opulences (vibhūti) – I desire to know about all these opulences of Yours. Kindly explain them to me.
kathaṁ vidyām ahaṁ yogiṁs tvāṁ sadā paricintayan
keṣu keṣu ca bhāveṣu cintyo’si bhagavan mayā
The yogamāyā potency is eternally present in You. O Bhagavān! How to understand You and think about You? In what way should I meditate upon You?
vistareṇātmano yogaṁ vibhūtiṁ ca janārdana
bhūyaḥ kathaya tṛptir hi śṛṇvato nāsti me’mṛtam
O Janārdana! Please explain to me again about Your opulence and yoga. When I hear the tattvāmṛta (the nectar concerning Your reality) I am far from being satiated. Rather, my thirst for hearing is greatly increased.
śrī bhagavān uvāca –
hanta te kathayiṣyāmi divyā hy-ātma-vibhūtayaḥ
prādhānyataḥ kuru-śreṣṭha nāsty-anto vistarasya me
Bhagavān said: O Arjuna! There is no end to all My divine opulence. Listen as I explain to you My primary opulences.
aham ātmā guḍākeśa sarva-bhūtāśaya-sthitaḥ
aham ādiś ca madhyaṁ ca bhūtānām anta eva ca
O Guḍakeśa (one who has conquered sleep)! O Jitendra (one who has subdued the senses)! I will explain the principle of My intrinsic nature unto you. My conditional principle (sambandhika–tattva) is this – I am the ātmā of all the worlds, in other words, I am the antaryāmī-puruṣa (that personality who dwells within all). I am the beginning, middle and end of all beings.
ādityānām ahaṁ viṣṇur jyotiṣāṁ ravir aṁśumān
marīcir marutām asmi nakṣatrāṇām ahaṁ śaśī
vedānāṁ sāma-vedo’smi devānām asmi vāsavaḥ
indriyāṇāṁ manaś cāsmi bhūtānām asmi cetanā
rudrāṇāṁ śaṅkaraś cāsmi vitteśo yakṣa-rakṣasām
vasūnāṁ pāvakaś cāsmi meruḥ śikhariṇām aham
purodhasāṁ ca mukhyaṁ māṁ viddhi pārtha bṛhaspatim
senānīnām ahaṁ skandaḥ sarasām asmi sāgaraḥ
Amongst the Adityas I am Viṣṇu. Amongst all effulgent objects I am the sun who is garlanded with rays. Amongst the Marutas, I am Marīci. Of the nakṣatras I am their master, the moon. Amongst all the Vedas, I am the Sāma Veda. I am Indra amongst the Devas. I am the mind amongst the senses. I am the consciousness of all beings. Amongst the Rudras, I am Śiva. I am Kuvera amongst the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas. Amongst the Vasus I am Pāvaka (Agni). I am Sumeru amongst mountains. Amongst priests I am Bṛhaspati. I am Kārtika amongst military commanders, and amongst bodies of water I am the ocean.
maharṣīṇāṁ bhṛgur ahaṁ girām asmy-ekam akṣaram
yajñānāṁ japa-yajño’smi sthāvarāṇāṁ himālayaḥ
I am Bhṛgu amongst great ṛṣis. Amongst words I am praṇava (oṁkara). Amongst yajñas I am the japa-yajña (the silent chanting of mantras), and amongst inanimate things I am the Himalayas.
aśvatthaḥ sarva-vṛkṣāṇāṁ devarṣīṇāṁ ca nāradaḥ
gandharvāṇāṁ citrarathaḥ siddhānāṁ kapilo muniḥ
I am the aśvattha amongst trees. Amongst devarṣis I am Nārada. I am Citraratha amongst the Gandharvas, and amongst the Siddhas (perfected yogīs) I am Kapila Muni.
uccaiḥśravasam aśvānāṁ viddhi mām amṛtodbhavam
airāvataṁ gajendrāṇāṁ narāṇāṁ ca narādhipam
I am Uccaiḥśrava amongst horses, who appeared during the churning of the ocean. Amongst elephants I am Airāvata. Amongst humans I am the emperor.
āyudhānām ahaṁ vajraṁ dhenūnām asmi kāmadhuk
prajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥ sarpāṇām asmi vāsukiḥ
Amongst weapons I am the vajra (thunderbolt). I am the kāma-dhenu amongst cows. I am Kāmadeva, the foundational source of creating progeny. Amongst serpents I am Vāsuki.
anantaś cāsmi nāgānāṁ varuṇo yādasām aham
pitṛṇām aryamā cāsmi yamaḥ saṁyamatām aham
I am Ananta amongst the Nāgas. I am Varuṇa amongst those who reside in water. Amongst the Pitṛs I am Aryamā. I am Yama amongst punishers.
prahlādaś cāsmi daityānāṁ kālaḥ kalayatām aham
mṛgāṇāṁ ca mṛgendro’haṁ vainateyaś ca pakṣiṇām
I am Prahlāda amongst the Daityas. Amongst subjugators I am time. I am the lion amongst animals, and amongst birds I am Garuḍa.
pavanaḥ pavatām asmi rāmaḥ śastra-bhṛtām aham
jhaṣāṇāṁ makaraś cāsmi srotasām asmi jāhnavī
Amongst the swift and purifying agents I am Pavana (Vāyu). Amongst those men who wield weapons I am, the empowered jīva, Paraśurāma. I am the makra amongst aquatics, and amongst rivers I am the Gaṅgā.
sargāṇām ādir antaś ca madhyaṁ caivāham arjuna
adhyātma-vidyā vidyānāṁ vādaḥ pravadatām aham
I am the beginning, end and middle amongst those elements connected to creation etc. Amongst knowledge I am adhyātma-vidya, in other words, sva-savrūpa-jñāna (self realisation or knowledge of one’s inherent self). I am vāda i.e. determining the truth amongst types of argument such as jalpa, vitaṇḍa etc. which establish one’s position and defeat opposing opinions.
akṣarāṇām akāro’smi dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca
aham evākṣayaḥ kālo dhātāhaṁ viśvato-mukhaḥ
Amongst letters I am a-kāra. I am the dvandva (dual compound) amongst samāsas (compounds). Amongst annihilators I am Mahā-kāla Rudra. I am Brahmā amongst creators.
mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham udbhavaś ca bhaviṣyatām
kīrtiḥ śrīr vāk ca nārīṇāṁ smṛtir medhā dhṛtiḥ kṣamā
Amongst those that deprive, I am death, who deprives all. Amongst those elements that change, I am birth. Amongst women I am Kīrti, Śrī, Vāṇi, Smṛti, Medhā, Dhṛti, Kṣamā and the wives of Dharma such as Mūrti etc.
bṛhat-sāma tathā sāmnāṁ gāyatrī chandasām aham
māsānāṁ mārga-śīrṣo’ham ṛtūnāṁ kusumākaraḥ
I am the Bṛhat Sāma within the Sāma Veda. Amongst metres I am the gāyatrī. I am Agrahāyaṇa amongst months, and amongst seasons I am Vasanta (Spring).
dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi tejas tejasvinām aham
jayo’smi vyavasāyo’smi sattvaṁ sattvavatām aham
I am gambling amongst deceivers. I am the effort amongst those who endeavour. I am the victory and attempt of conquerors and I am the strength of the mighty.
vṛṣṇīnāṁ vāsudevo’smi pāṇḍavānāṁ dhanañjayaḥ
munīnām apy-ahaṁ vyāsaḥ kavīnām uśanā kaviḥ
Amongst the Vṛṣṇīs I am Vasudeva. I am Dhanañjaya (Arjuna) amongst the Paṇḍavas. Amongst munis I am Vyāsa, and I am Śukrācārya amongst the wise.
daṇḍo damayatām asmi nītir asmi jigīṣatām
maunaṁ caivāsmi guhyānāṁ jñānaṁ jñānavatām aham
Amongst those who punish I am discipline. I am morality amongst those who desire victory. I am silence within confidential dharma, and I am that knowledge in those who possess it.
yac cāpi sarva-bhūtānāṁ bījaṁ tad aham arjuna
na tad asti vinā yat syān mayā bhūtaṁ carācaram
I am that seed which causes all creatures to appear, because amongst that which is animate or inanimate, nothing can exist without Me.
nānto ‘sti mama divyānāṁ vibhūtīnāṁ parantapa
eṣa tūddeśataḥ prokto vibhūter vistaro mayā
O Parantapa! There is no end to My divine opulence. I have glorified them to you in name only.
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ mama tejo’ṁśa sambhavam
All things associated with splendour, wealth, strength, influence, abundance etc. – know them all to be My opulence. They have all manifest from a fragment of the power of My potency.
athavā bahunaitena kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam ekāṁśena sthito jagat
What more shall I say, O Arjuna? In summary, My nature possesses all potencies. Through the influence of each of them, I enter and exist in all the worlds. Entering into material existence through the influence of matter, and entering the universe of the jīvas through the influence of the jīvas, I exist in relation to this created universe.
Thus ends Chapter Ten entitled Vibhūti 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 tenth chapter