Gita Daily Readings

20th August
Chapter XI: 36-37
Arjuna said: It is meet, 0h Krishna, that the world delights and rejoices in thy praise; demons fly in fear to all quarters and the hosts of the perfected ones bow to thee.

And, why should they not, 0h great soul, bow to thee who art greater than all, the primal cause even of the creator, 0h infinite being, 0h lord of the gods, 0h abode of the universe. Thou art the imperishable, the being, the non-being and that which is the supreme (beyond both).

Commentary

In verse 23, Arjuna said that all the worlds are terrified. Now he says that the world delights and rejoices in God's praise. This is not a contradiction, but a revelation of the great truth that the phenomenal scene changes and that in creation, which is but a play of dualities, misery and happiness alternate every few "moments"!

Here, Arjuna sees the world's rejoicing, the demons’ flight and the perfected ones’ devotion. It is a beautiful thought: the situation outside is the same, but we react in the way that our own inner condition demands. The good world (mankind) delights and rejoices in God's praise, glorifying him for all good that they see - the objects that bring them happiness. They are good; they see everything as good; they seek happiness; they get that happiness and they praise God.

The demons, the wicked beings - the demoniacal, the animal clothed in human garb - see their own reflection in the environment. They are afraid of even God's own goodness and flee. The perfected ones who have gone beyond good and evil, to whom happiness and misery are but subjective projections which they have ceded, see in the external manifest universe the nature of God, understand its magnitude and praise him.

By addressing the Lord as mahatman, a great soul, Arjuna reflects Patanjali's concept of Ishvara as purushavishesha (a special and exalted soul).

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