Chapter VII: 18-19
Noble indeed are all these; but I
deem the wise man as my very self; for, steadfast in mind
he is established in me alone as the supreme goal.
At the end of many births the wise man comes to me, realizing that all this is Vasudeva (the innermost self); such a great soul is very hard to find
CommentaryThe wise devotee of the Lord knows that his love of God is nothing other than a manifestation of his unity with God. In his endeavor to gain the vision of the truth concerning life, the world, the ego, appearance and the reality, the wise seeker sees one physical appearance as different from another, but inwardly he realizes that these differences are superficial. Just as all trees grow from the same soil, so all manifest creation has its origin in God. This is an unalterable, eternal fact of existence. In that vision there is wisdom, insight, enlightenment and incomparable love.
This sublime state of supreme love of God is not attained in a single lifetime. We adore the perfected saint, the man of God, but seldom realize that he has not attained this state by chance or even by magic or miracle, but by many lifetimes of persistent and intense endeavor to reach the pinnacle of God-consciousness.
The expression used here is Vasudeva. This is a proper name of Krishna which also means "that which envelops all" - the omnipresent. By which sign can we recognize the "great soul"? He is so expansive of heart that in his cosmic vision all beings are experienced as the one omnipresent being. He has been working towards this highest realization by constantly endeavoring to remove name and form and by "seeing" the hidden inner essence - God. We, too, shall eventually reach this goal, only to realize that what we sought is the seeker's love!
One optimistic note is possible here. When the Bhagavad Gita tells us: "After many lifetimes of striving one attains this perfection," I think it is proper for us to ask: "How do you know that all of us have not already been striving for many lifetimes, and this is the last one?" It is possible.
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