Gita Daily Readings

22nd December
Chapter XVIII: 61
The Lord dwells (abides) in the hearts of all beings, Oh Arjuna, causing all beings, by his illusive power, to revolve as if mounted on a machine.

Commentary

God and his inscrutable illusive power (maya) constitute the entire universe. God's real nature is veiled by this illusive power which cannot even be understood, because the understanding power in us is also a manifestation of maya. Our own intuition and the direct realization of the great sages confirm the truth which has been beautifully expressed by Tulasidas, the author of the Ramayana in Hindi, thus: "I realize that the whole universe is Sita-Rama" - Sita representing maya and Rama representing the Lord.

Though Ishvara and maya are two-in-one (symbolized in the beautiful picture of Shiva and Parvati sharing the two halves of one body), they are the opposite poles. In the text, the word used for "dwells" is "tisthati" (stands firm). So, the Lord stands firm in all beings; but maya is dynamic and makes everyone revolve. Thus, when we are at peace within ourselves, we may understand that we are in the light of the Lord: and when the mind is restless, it is caught in maya.

We can learn a wonderful lesson by watching a merry-go-round. The children farthest from the center whirl wildly. Those midway move more slowly, and the one at the center is at peace. You have the free-will to choose where you wish to be.

God dwells in the hearts of all beings; these beings are part of nature. The infinite reflections of God in his own nature are misunderstood as the ego! There is naught else which you may hold up as "ego"!

Another great lesson is alluded to here. Anything that leads us to our center is the grace of God (Ishvara). Anything that tempts us away from there is the work of maya. Thus, pleasure, prosperity and success make us extrovert: they are the tempting baits of maya. Pain, adversity and failure (should) bring us back to ourselves. Obviously they are the signs of the grace of God!

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