Gita Daily Readings

18th September
Chapter XIII: 12-13
I will declare that which has to be known, knowing which one attains to immortality, the beginningless supreme Brahman, called neither being nor non-being.

With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, he exists in the worlds enveloping all.

Commentary

Now Krishna describes the knower of the field, the subject. One should know what this subject is. Such knowledge is twofold: paroksha (indirect and intellectual) and aparoksha (direct and intuitive). The former is knowledge by contact, via a medium (e.g., scripture, guru) and the latter is knowledge by identity. It is immediate knowledge, without a medium, and arises from direct experience. Such knowledge is real knowledge and puts an end to all doubt and uncertainty.

The power to reveal that immediate knowledge is vested only in God; only he really knows. To him the whole universe and the power and the intelligence in it are "objects" of his own "thought" (if there be such). The ego and the individual intellect are themselves objects and products of ignorance. Hence Krishna says: "I will declare that which has to be known" (first indirectly, from the lips of the guru - here Krishna himself), and "knowing which (i.e. having knowledge by identity) one attains to immortality."

That supreme subject of all can be described neither in positive nor negative terms. As our Master often said: "To define Brahman is to deny Brahman." The intellect can grasp and speech express only finite entities. Yajnavalkya asks an extremely pertinent question in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad: "With what shall one know the knower?"

Here, the Lord reveals the great truth: "that" is omnipresent. What you call the world is really God seeing through the eyes, ears, tongue, skin and so on. What you call a thought or an idea is God conceived, grasped by thought. So, there is nothing other than God here. Such is his glory that he himself appears as all this diversity. It all belongs to God, whether the immediately visible form be that of a saint or an ant.

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