Gita Daily Readings

8th August
Chapter XI: 14-15
Then, Arjuna, filled with wonder and with his hair standing on end, bowed down his head to the God and with palms joined, spoke:

Arjuna said: I see all the gods, Oh God, in thy body, and also the hosts of various classes of beings, Brahma, the lord seated on the lotus, all the sages and the celestial serpents.

Commentary

"Hair standing on end" has been described to be one of the signs of religious experience.

The experience that Arjuna describes in these verses tallies with what Raja yoga styles savikalpa samadhi. The seer, sight and seen; the knower, knowledge and known - have not yet merged into one. The triad is still maintained. This is the highest experience granted to the surviving individual as long as there is still a trace of ego or duality. From here the salt doll (individual soul) takes a leap into the sea (Brahman). In the words of sage Yajnavalkye, in that state one does not know another; hence it is the state of existence-knowledge-bliss absolute, undivided and infinite - nirvikalpa samadhi.

However, Arjuna still retains the 'I' and is therefore able to enjoy the cosmic vision. It is not without its price, as we shall see - he is terrified.

Here are mentioned five categories of beings:

(1) all the gods - the deities that indwell and govern the elements and the different phenomena;

(2) Brahma, the creator of the universe - the power hidden in the "super-atom" of the astronomer or the"golden egg" of the Indian;

(3) various classes of beings;

(4) the sages - the men of the highest evolutionary level; and

(5) serpents.

From the highest divinity, the creator himself, to the lowest creature, specifically mentioned as "serpents," all are pervaded by God. The serpent symbolizes "time" as well as "evil"; all these, too, are in God, for, let us remind ourselves, he is omnipresent.

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