Gita Daily Readings

13th June
Chapter VIII: 3
The blessed Lord said: Brahman is the imperishable, the supreme. His essential nature is called self-knowledge (the adhyatman). The offering (unto the gods) which causes the creation and existence of beings is called karma.

Commentary

The absolute (Brahman) is imperishable, supreme, infinite and beyond all these descriptive attributes. Any description limits it. Thus our Master used to say, "To define Brahman is to deny Brahman." Hence it was that Buddha refrained from discussing it, and that Dakshinamurti conveyed the wordless knowledge of it to the Sanatkumaras, by silence filled with transcendental knowledge.

Brahman is not an inert nothingness or a void. The supreme or totality does not undergo any change or decay. Yet, in it there is constant change, which implies constancy and change. These are not contradictory but complementary. The nature inherent in this totality is adhyatma. Or, conversely, atma, or selfhood, is inherent in this totality even to the point of individuality. That is, you do not belong to yourself; yourself belongs to the totality. This totality has, as its very substratum, infinite diversity, which is the self of all; just as the night sky is studded with millions of diamonds - the stars. Thus, self-knowledge is a re-attainment of something that the personality has lost. When the personality is keenly analyzed, it becomes transparent, revealing its own substratum - that cosmic consciousness which is the goal, the supreme fulfillment or self-knowledge.

The compound word bhutabhavodbhavakaro suggests a dream or vision of something as if it existed. That is the karma of the totality or God. Hence, God does not "create" as the carpenter creates furniture, but in that cosmic being there arises a feeling (bhavana) of the manifestation (bhuta) of all this multidiversity. That is called the universe, which is maintained by God's grace, so that the souls therein may gain the necessary experience to attain self-knowledge. Understood in this light, even the law of karma is seen as a contributory factor towards evolution and attainment of self-knowledge.

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