Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries of Shankara | Discourse 10 verse 1-11

TENTH DISCOURSE.

DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS.

The Lord is the source of all manifestations.

In the seventh discourse and in the ninth, the essential nature of the Lord and His manifestations has been pointed out.

Now it is necessary to point out in what forms of being the Lord should be thought of; and it is also necessary to describe the essential nature of the Lord,—though it has been described already,—as it is a hard thing to under­stand.

With this view, the Lord says:

The Blessed Lord said:
1. Again, O mighty-armed, listen to My Supreme word, which I, from a desire for thy well-being, shall speak to thee who are delighted.

Shankara's commentary:

Supreme: as revealing the unsurpassed Thing. Delighted: you are intensely delighted with My speech, as though you are drinking the immortal nectar.

Why should He speak of it?

—The Lord says:

2. Neither the hosts of the Gods nor the Great Rishis know my origin; for I am the source of all the Gods and the Great Rishis.

Shankara's commentary:

Prabhava (interpreted as origin) may also mean “Great Lordly Power.” Rishis: such as Bhrigu.

Moreover,

3. He who knows Me as unborn and beginning­less, as the great Lord of the worlds, he among mortals is undeluded, he is liberated from all sins.

Shankara's commentary:

Because I am the source of the Gods and the Great Ṛishis, none else exists as the source of My existence; wherefore, I am unborn and beginningless. Because I am beginningless, therefore I am unborn.

Undeluded: devoid of delusion. All sins: consciously or unconsciously incurred.

For the following reason also I am the great Lord of the worlds:

4-5. Intelligence, wisdom, non-illusion, patience, truth, self-restraint, calmness, pleasure, pain, birth, death, fear, and security;

innocence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, beneficence, fame, shame; (these) different kinds of dispositions of beings arise from Me alone.

Shankara's commentary:

Intelligence (buddhi) is the power which the inner sense (antaḥ-kāraṇa) has of understanding subtle objects of thought. He, indeed, is said to be intelligent who is possessed of this power.

Wisdom is the knowledge of the Self and other such things.

Non-illusion consists in acting with discrimination when anything has to be done or known at the moment.

Patience: not being agitated in mind when assaulted or abused.

Truth: giving utterance' to one’s own actual experience of things, as heard or seen, with a view to impress it on the mind of another.

Self-restraint, quieting the external senses. Calmness: the tran­quillity of the inner sense or antaḥ-kāraṇa Innocence: not injuring living beings. Contentment: being satisfied with one’s present acquisitions.

Austerity, bodily torture accom­panied with the restraint of the senses. Beneficence: sharing (one’s own things) with others as far as one’s own means may permit. Fame: due to dharma. Shame: due to a- dharma.

All these different dispositions of living beings mentioned above, such as intelligence, arise from Me alone, the Lord (Īśvara), according to their respective karma.

Moreover,

6. The seven Great ishis as well as the four ancient Manus, with their being in Me, were born of mind; and theirs are these creatures in the world.

Shankara's commentary:

The seven great Ṛishis such as Bhrigu, as well as the four Manus of the past ages known as Sāvarṇas, had directed their thoughts to Me exclusively and were therefore endow­ed with the power of Vishnu.

They were produced by Me by mind alone. Born in the creation of these Manus and of the Great Ṛishis are these creatures comprising the moving and the unmoving beings.

Knowledge of the Lord’s Glory conduces to Yoga.

7. He who knows in truth this glory and power of Mine is endowed with unshaken Yoga; there is no doubt of it.

Shankara's commentary:

He who knows in truth this vast extent of My being and My achievement (Yoga)—or Yoga may here stand for what is born of Yoga, i.e., the power of achieving and controlling mighty things as well as Omniscience

—he is endowed with unshaken Yoga, i. e., with steadiness in right knowledge.

What is that unshaken Yoga with which they are en­dowed?

—The answer follows:

8. I am the source of all; from Me everything evolves; thus thinking the wise worship Me, en­dowed with contemplation.

Shankara's commentary:

I, the Supreme Brahman, termed Vāsudeva, am the source of the whole world.

From Me alone evolves the whole universe in all its changes, including existence and disappearance, action, effect and enjoyment.

Thus think­ing; the wise who know the Supreme Reality worship Me, ardently engaged in the contemplation of the Supreme Reality.

Moreover,

9. With their thought on Me, with their life absorbed in Me, instructing each other, and ever speaking of Me, they are content and delighted.

Shankara's commentary:

All their senses (prāṇas) such as the eye are absorbed in Me. Or—according to another interpretation—their very life (prāṇa) is devoted to Me.

They ever speak of Me as possessed of supreme wisdom, power, might and other qualities. They thus obtain satisfaction and are delighted as if in the company of the beloved.

The Lord endows His devotees with wisdom.

As to those who worship Me devoutly in the ways men­tioned above,

10. To these, ever devout, worshipping Me with love, I give that devotion of knowledge by which they come to Me.

Shankara's commentary:

To them who are ever devout, worshipping Me, not for any purpose of their own, but out of love for Me,

- to them I give that devotion of right knowledge (buddhi-yoga) of My essential nature by which they—those who worship Me “with their thought on Me” (x. 9) and so on—-know Me, the Supreme Lord, the Self, as their own Self.

Why doest Thou give the devotion of knowledge (buddhi- yoga) to Thy devotees?

—And what is that obstacle in the path leading to Thee which the devotion of knowledge that Thou givest to Thy devotees serves to remove?

—In answer to this question, the Lord says:

11. Out of mere compassion for them, I, abid­ing in their self, destroy the darkness born of ignorance, by the luminous lamp of wisdom.

Shankara's commentary:

Out of mere compassion: out of mercy, anxious as to how they may attain bliss.

I dwell in their antaḥ-kāraṇa which is engaged in thinking exclusively of the Self and destroy the darkness of ignorance,

—that illusory knowledge which is caused by the absence of discrimination,

—by the lamp of wisdom, by the lamp of discriminatory knowledge, fed by the oil of pure Devotion (Bhakti-prasāda), fanned by the wind of earnest meditation on Me, furnished with the wick of right intuition purified by the cultivation of piety, chasti­ty and other virtues,

held in the antaḥ-kāraṇa which is com­pletely detached from all worldly concerns, placed in the wind-sheltered enclosure of the mind which is withdrawn from the sense-objects and untainted by attachment and aversion,

and shining with the light of right knowledge generated by incessant practice of concentration and meditation.