June 12, The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina N. Gajjar
Commentary and Chapter 9, The Holy Secret
In Chapter 9, The Holy Secret, Lord Krishna says that He will share a beautiful, eternal, sacred secret that will protect Arjun from all evil. God (Bhagvan) explains the importance of this knowledge and the merits of accepting it. He discusses the relationship of His divinity to the world and He contrasts the goodness and wisdom of the persons who recognize Him with the foolish ignorance of those who do not.
This chapter continues the discussion of Chapter 8 which talks of God as a fundamental principle or force. It clarifies the way in which God exists and interacts with His creation, thus giving us a way to perceive Him in human terms.
The world, Bhagvan says, is filled with Him. He is not really a part of people but He is everywhere and people are in Him. He speaks of Himself in His unmanifest form, acknowledging the Hindu view that God can assume a physical form as well as an ideological one. In other words, He may come to earth as a living being or remain unseen. Either way, He is the powerful, omnipresent, and eternal reality.
Scholars and thinkers have considered how to understand the notion of God being everywhere without being a part of people while people are in Him. I think the best understanding of this concept is intuitive, though it can be illustrated using analogies. For example, our elders influence us. Their influence is ever-present in our minds and hearts, regulating our actions even when they are no more of this world. Similarly, a scent, a memory, or an image can remain real and vividly color our perspective, long after we experienced it. Lord Krishna gives the example of the air which fills space everywhere and in which we reside and upon which we depend to show how we are in Him and how He envelopes us without being a part of us.
God tells us that the world was born of Him and that at its end it reverts back into Him. Though the world is controlled by matter or nature during its existence, God is the cause and the essence of His creation. He is the heat in the sun and the water in the rain. He is the world’s Mother, Father, and Grandfather. He is the world’s maker and its dismantler. He is the beginning and the end. He is birth, death, and immortality.
With reminders of His powerful attributes, the Lord admonishes those who do not believe in His greatness and praises those who do. He says that disbelievers who consider Him nothing more than a man are deluded, while those who worship Him are wise and virtuous. Even sinners who love God quickly become good.
The wise and good love and worship God by praying to Him, by studying about Him, and by thinking about His many names and forms. Even those who pray to him with ulterior motives are destined to go to heaven, though they are also destined to return to the cycle of birth and death. But the best prayers, offerings, and actions are pure and made simply out of love for God. God says he accepts everything given to Him, a leaf, a flower, or even water. He says that those who do everything like eating or punishing themselves with Him in mind, reach Him.
Thus, the secret knowledge given in Chapter 9 is simple. It is secret because it involves spiritual experience as well as philosophical knowledge. It incorporates everything stated in the Gita. It puts us in touch with our spirit which is a spark of the great divine force that moves the world. It does not fail in leading us to God. The holy secret is that loving God, thinking of Him, revering Him, and trusting Him brings us to Him.
Chapter 9: The Holy Secret
Bhagvan said: To you, I will give the holy secret which will keep everything bad away from you.
This secret is the best, the loveliest, the holiest. It is a wonderful, everlasting secret.
The world is filled with Me, God, like a room is filled with air. This is how I am not really a part of people, but I am everywhere and they are in Me.
The whole world was My idea and was born from Me.
Arjun, at the end of the world, all living things get lost in Me and then at the beginning of the world everything is born again. Nature begins again and the world becomes alive.
A great wheel makes the world turn round and round and it makes the world get lost in God and get born again.
The world disappears and reappears like this many times because I want it to.
Fools don’t recognize God. They are silly and unhappy. They think I am just a man. But good and wise people know Me. They know I make the world and they worship Me. Good people call out My name and bow to Me, and pray to Me and think of Me all the time.
Good people love Me in different ways. These ways are studying about God and thinking about God and My many names and My many forms. I am prayers, and pujas, and ghee, and sweets, and the holy fire.
I am the King of the Universe. I am its Father and Mother and Grandfather. I am making things and I am taking things apart. I am the beginning and the end. I am being born and dying and I am living forever.
I am the heat in the sun and the water in the rain. I cause and I hold back showers.
People who pray to Me because they want something, go to heaven and rejoice there. But then they are born and they die again.
But people who pray just because they love Me, not because they want something, are the best and I take care of them forever.
If a person gives Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even just water, the person sees Me in his mind. I come and happily take whatever he gives Me with love.
Arjun, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you give me as a gift, do it, and eat it and give it for Me. If you are sorry, punish yourself for Me too. If you do everything for My sake, instead of for yourself, You will do everything good and come right to Me.
I am everywhere. I do not hate or love. But the persons who worship Me live in God and can recognize God in themselves.
Even the worst people, even sinners, are good if they love Me with all their heart. The become good very quickly and become happy forever. Oh Arjun, you can be sure that this is true. Everyone who loves Me becomes happy.
The holy secret is this: By loving God, Me, you can come right up to God. Thinking of God, bowing to God, joining God, and trusting God is the way to God.
Come back next week for Chapter 10: God’s Glories. If you would like to purchase The Gita, by Irina Gajjar, please use this link to Amazon.